NFL 2019: Which former Clemson Tigers shined in Week 1?

The NFL season got underway on Sunday, and one former Clemson football All-American had an impressive debut for his team and a few lucky or prophetic fantasy football players.

Former Clemson football standout receiver Sammy Watkins had quite a Week 1 for the Kansas City Chiefs. He was also a fantasy football saver and heartbreaker for some players on Sunday.

Watkins faced an outstanding Jacksonville Jaguars secondary without Chiefs star receiver Tyreek Hill who suffered a shoulder injury early in the first half. All-Pro cornerback and former Florida State All-American Jalen Ramsey couldn’t contain Watkins at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, FL.

Sammy looked like “SAMMY” running routes in Death Valley on Sunday.

He flashed speed, quickness  and explosion all day, especially, on his first quarter 68-yard catch, juke and sprint to the end zone. Watkins scored again from 49 yards out in the quarter and finished the first half with six receptions,178 yards and two scores. He ended the game with nine receptions, 198 yards and three touchdowns to help the Chiefs beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 40-26.

Click here to see Watkins’ highlights.

Watkins was the man on Sunday, but Monday night belonged to the Houston Texans offensive duo of quarterback Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins.

Watson completed 20 of 30 pass attempts for 268 yards and added another 40 yards on the ground. He had four total touchdown including 2, 16, and 38 yards on passes and a diving 21-yard run.

Hopkins caught the 2 and 16-yard touchdown passes from Watson and finished the game with eight receptions for 111 yards in an entertaining, gut wrenching 30-28 loss to the New Orleans Saints.

Here’s a quick look at other former Clemson football players who made an impact in Week 1:

Carolina Panthers receiver Ray-Ray McCloud was waived by Buffalo Bills on Aug. 31 and quickly signed by the Panthers.

McCloud returned two punts for 24 yards with a long of 13 and averaged 25.5 yards on two kickoff returns in a 30-27 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

New York Giants running back Wayne Gallman made his two carries count as he scored from two yards out in the Giants 35-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Gallman rushed for a total of 17 yards.

Miami Dolphins rookie defensive tackle Christian Wilkins had four tackles in the Dolphins humiliating 59-10 home loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

In the matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings, four former Clemson defensive players were in Minnesota.

Jayron Kearse tied teammate Harrison Smith with a Vikings team-high nine tackles after ditching his normal safety position to sub in at nickel for injured former Clemson teammate Mackensie Alexander, who left the game with a dislocated elbow. Alexander had one tackle before leaving during the first half of the game.

For the Falcons, end Vic Beasley(3) and nose tackle Grady Jarrett(5), who signed a four-year, $68 million with $42.5 million guaranteed on Jul 15, combined for 8 tackles. Jarrett had the only sack for the Falcons. The Vikings were able to defeat the Falcons 28-12.

Another former Clemson player Shaq Lawson is in a contract year and his current team the Buffalo Bills have already declined the fifth-year option of his contract.

Lawson got his year off to a good start with four tackles and a sack in the Bills 17-16 win over the Jets. After this season, the Bills will evaluate Lawson to sign him to a new contract or he could choose to sign with another team.

In another matchup with dueling former teammates, the Los Angeles Chargers outlasted the Indianapolis Colts 30-24 in overtime.

Colts receiver Deon Cain made his NFL debut after a 2018 preseason knee injury ended his rookie season. Cain caught his two targets for 35 yards with a long of 25.

Fellow Clemson WRU alum Chargers receiver Mike Williams had his game shortened with an apparent knee injury. Before leaving in the fourth quarter, he had two receptions, 29 yards with a long of 17. According to, Williams’ knee tightened up during the game, but he is available to play next week.

On Monday night, the late game featured the new look Los Angeles Raiders/Clemson rookies versus the Denver Broncos. Rookies Clelin Ferrell, Hunter Renfrow and Trayvon Mullen all saw action in the Raiders surprising 24-16 win.

Ferrell had three total tackles, knocked down a pass and recorded his first career sack.


Renfrow was targeted three times by Raiders quarterback David Carr and started his career with two receptions and 13 yards.

Next: 5 storylines to watch vs. Syracuse

Mullen didn’t see any significant playing time until a fourth quarter injury to Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley. Mullen made one tackle on the night.

Check with us here at Rubbing the Rock for more Clemson highlights from the NFL for Week 2.

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