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After just 38 plays into his senior year, Waters' 2006 season came to a crashing halt with a left knee torn anterior cruciate ligament in the second half of the Florida Atlantic game. He underwent surgery on Sept. 18 and could still not perform in the agility tests by the time the NFL Scouting Combine took place in late February.
Waters was an All-State selection and Offensive Player of the Year as a senior at Lake View High School. He played linebacker, running back, defensive end, wide receiver and punter for coach Jewell McLauren. TheInsiders.com rated him the 79th-best linebacker in the nation, as he earned a three-star rating. He ranked 37th in the nation among linebackers and received a three-star rating from Rivals100.com.
Waters led Lake View High in rushing, receiving and tackles as a senior. He gained 1,382 yards with 23 touchdowns on the ground, had 22 catches for 450 yards and four scores and posted 145 tackles, including 15 stops behind the line of scrimmage. In the state's Shrine Bowl, he registered eight tackles.
Upon graduation, Waters enrolled at Clemson, turning down scholarship offers from Auburn, Georgia Tech, Maryland, North Carolina State, South Carolina and Wake Forest. He spent the 2002 season on the scout team as an inside linebacker, shifting to the outside the following year. In 2003, he appeared in 13 games as a reserve, collecting 35 tackles (24 solos) with a quarterback pressure on 172 plays.
Waters returned to middle linebacker in 2004, starting all 11 games. In 578 plays, he finished third on the team with 70 tackles (46 solos). He had two sacks and nine stops for losses while coming up with nine pressures. He also caused a fumble, batted away a pass and led the special teams units with nine tackles (seven solos).
In 2005, Waters earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference honorable mention as the Tigers ranked 11th in the nation in scoring defense. He led the team and ranked third in the ACC, as he produced 109 tackles (74 solos). He registered 13.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage, including 1.5 sacks and added five pressures. He also had seven pass deflections and two tackles on special teams while participating in 600 plays.
As a senior, he managed three tackles and two pressures before blowing out his knee against Florida Atlantic. He suited up for the team's final two games, but the medical staff would not clear him to return to the field, thus ending his career on the sidelines.
In 36 games at Clemson, Waters started 23 times at middle linebacker. He finished his career with 217 tackles (146 solos), adding 3.5 sacks for minus-30 yards, 22.5 stops for losses of 76 yards and 11 quarterback pressures. He caused one fumble and had seven pass break-ups while participating in 1,388 plays.
Positives: Has a thick frame with adequate muscle definition, long arms, tight midsection and tapered thighs...Instinctive mover with a good feel for blocking schemes...Lacks the flexibility or lateral agility to move down the line, but shows good straight-line quickness and the ability to close on plays in front of him...Plays with good urgency and is an aggressive type who won't back down from the bigger blockers...Shows good ball reaction ability, keeping his shoulders square when attacking the line of scrimmage...Has the hand punch to shock and jolt offensive linemen and stays in position, filling the rush lanes with force...Has the hand strength to lock on and disengage, but can be positioned when he gets too tall in his stance or plays out of control...Doesn't allow blockers to get into his body on the move...Has the quickness to chase down ball carriers along the perimeter, and when he keeps his pads down he is effective at slipping through trash to collide, drag down or wrap up the runner...Has the functional range to get wide and keep his feet to make plays on the edge...Sinks his weight and extends his arms properly to wrap and secure...Finds ways to sniff out the ball in traffic...Lacks great sustained speed, but can make plays outside the box (better in the short area)...When he attacks with shoulders square, he gets enough of a push to rock offensive linemen back and pressure the pocket...Builds to top acceleration nicely and won't bite on play-action or misdirection... Uses his hands well to shed and demonstrates good delivery with his punch...Shifts his weight and snaps his hips to generate force behind his tackles.
Negatives: Still not fully recovered from 2006 knee surgery and further medical evaluation is needed...Lack of flexibility is evident in his pass drops, as he takes choppy strides and false steps in his backpedal, failing to flip his hips to come cleanly out of his breaks... Needs to play in control with better consistency, as he will get too reckless in his play, over-commit in pursuit and with his stiff hips, can't redirect suddenly to get back into the action...Has a strong hand punch, but needs to use them more in attempts to jam the tight ends at the line...Strictly a short-area pass defender, as his speed tapers off going long distances, struggling to mirror the receiver throughout the route...Will get beaten when a receiver executes multiple moves in attempts to separate...Has marginal hands in attempts to intercept the ball, but shows good timing on his leaps and reach-around ability to deflect throws...Eyeballs the quarterback too long when working in the zone...Does not have the lateral range to smoothly flow to the ball...Gets tall in his stance trying to push the pocket and blockers are able to cut him often, as he fails to protect his feet from low blocks.
Compares To: LEMAR MARSHALL-Washington...Waters is a good play diagnostician with a good feel for blocking schemes. He is a physical tackler who attacks the line with shoulders squared and has the hand strength to shock and jolt offensive linemen. He is quick to fill the rush lanes, but lacks the change of direction agility or loose hips to mirror the receivers in passing situations. He has not yet been cleared to test his surgically repaired knee, which will impact his draft stock. But someone could get a decent late second-day product if they patiently wait for him to fully recover.
Waters deflected seven passes in 2005, the most by a Clemson linebacker since Kenzil Jackson had seven in 1991...Ranked second among active Tigers with 22.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage...An avid weight lifter, Waters ranks seventh on the team with a 375-pound hang clean and ninth with a 405-pound bench press (February of 2006)...His 35.5-inch vertical jump is the ninth-best recorded by a Clemson tight end, fullback or linebacker since 1984.
A preseason All-American selection by the Football Writers Association, Waters saw his season come to an end in the Tigers' first half of the opener vs. Florida Atlantic, as he suffered a left knee torn anterior cruciate ligament...He recorded three tackles (2 solos) with a pair of pressures in 39 plays in that contest...Became the first Tiger captain to appear in just one game over the course of a season.
All-Atlantic Coast Conference honorable mention...At the team awards banquet, Waters was the recipient of the Solid Rock Award, given to the squad's outstanding linebackers by the Tiger coaches...Was also named All-State first-team by the Orangeburg Touchdown Club...Started eleven games at middle linebacker, leading the team and ranking third in the ACC with a career-high 109 tackles (74 solos)...His 74 solo hits led the conference and ranked 22nd in the NCAA Division 1-A ranks...Added 1.5 sacks for minus 9 yards and 13.5 stops for losses of 36 yards...His 13.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage ranked ninth in the conference...Credited with five quarterback pressures and seven pass deflections... His seven pass break-ups were the most by a Tigers linebacker in a season since Kenzil Jackson had seven in 1991...Also made two tackles on special teams...Named Player of the Game vs. Maryland, North Carolina State and Duke...Participated in 600 plays.
Took over middle linebacker chores, starting eleven games...Ranked third on the team with 70 tackles (46 solos)...Added two sacks for minus 21 yards and nine stops for losses of 40 yards...Had three pressures, a forced fumble and a pass deflection while appearing in 578 plays.
Reserve outside linebacker, performing in 172 snaps during the course of thirteen games...Recorded 35 tackles (24 solos) with a pressure, as nine of those hits (7 solos) came as the leader of the Tigers' special teams coverage unit.
Redshirted as a freshman, performing on the scout team as an inside linebacker.
2003: Suffered a broken bone in his left hand (10/01), but did not miss any playing time.
2006: Sat out the team's final 12 games after undergoing surgery on Sept. 18 to repair a left knee torn anterior cruciate ligament that he suffered in the season opener against Florida Atlantic.
Campus: 4.62 in the 40-yard dash...450-pound bench press...Benched 225 pounds 20 times...490-pound squat...365-pound power clean...375-pound hang clean...35.5-inch vertical jump...9'7" broad jump...33-inch arm length...9 5/8-inch hands...Right-handed...12/25 Wonderlic score.
Combine: Benched 225 pounds 25 times...Did not participate in agility drills due to recovery from knee injury.
Attended Lake View (S.C.) High School, playing football for head coach Jewell McLauren...All-State selection and Offensive Player of the Year as a senior...Competed as a punter, linebacker, running back, defensive end and wide receiver...TheInsiders.com rated him the 79th-best linebacker in the nation, as he earned a three-star rating...Ranked 37th in the nation among linebackers and received a three-star rating from Rivals100.com...Led Lake View High in rushing, receiving and tackles as a senior...Gained 1,382 yards and 23 touchdowns on the ground, had 22 catches for 450 yards and four scores and posted 145 tackles, including 15 stops behind the line of scrimmage...In the state's Shrine Bowl, he registered eight tackles.
Graduated on Dec. 21, 2006 with a degree in Sports Management...Born Anthony D. Waters on 7/25/84...Resides in Lake View, South Carolina.