Joyner will likely draw the task of mirroring Watkins all night.
As one of the top pass catchers in college football and probably first-round draft selection in 2014 should he choose to leave school a year early, Watkins is a true gamebreaker — and a true threat the ‘Noles have to be aware of late Saturday night.
“He’s a rare talent guy,” Joyner said. “You just have to know where he’s at all the time on the football field. He’s just one of those guys that you have to put him into the scouting report and you have to game plan against a guy like that.”
The Seminoles did a good job of limiting Watkins in their victory last year when he caught just six passes for 24 yards. But Watkins wasn’t 100 percent in that ballgame as he was suffering from a virus.
One year later, the Florida native is healthy and ready for redemption — and the Seminoles are preparing for his best shot. In order to shut him down again, Joyner must mirror him at all times and fellow cornerbacks P.J. Williams and Ronald Darby must also be ready to man up should they be asked to do so. Safeties Jalen Ramsey and Terrance Brooks must also play disciplined football in the back end.
“He’s tremendously athletic, (he’s) big, strong and fast, but his ball skills and the way he reaches out and catches the ball, plucks the ball and then you can get it to him so many ways. You can hand it to him, you can throw it to him quickly or intermediately with great routes, or you can throw it deep. A lot of those guys don’t have all the attributes to judge a ball in the deep part of the field or run by or be physical enough to go in the middle or be physical enough to line up in the backfield.
“He is 6’1, 205 pounds, but he plays bigger than that – very strong, very fast and just a complete player and if you watch him, he’s very instinctive. It’s natural for him to play football.”