Watkins and soccer player Amadou-Tidiane Daniel Dia were stopped by university police after an officer saw the car scrape a curb and the temporary license tag was not lit. The police report said an officer smelled marijuana in the car and a subsequent search found two pills for which Watkins did not have a prescription.
Dia was charged with marijuana possession.
Watkins apologized and said he’d accept any penalties from Tigers coach Dabo Swinney or the university.
“I made a mistake last night and I am truly sorry for my actions,” Watkins said in a statement. “I let the team down, the coaches down and this university down.”
Swinney learned of the arrest Friday morning. He said he’ll gather information before deciding on any punishment. Watkins “is a good young man who has been a model student, citizen, player and teammate,” Swinney said. “This is a reminder that good people make poor decisions. But, there are consequences for your actions and there will be in this case.”
Clemson men’s soccer coach Mike Noonan said Dia would face punishment for the arrest, which “go against the values” of the program.
Watkins set Clemson records with 82 catches for 1,219 yards and 12 touchdowns. The freshman was a big reason for the Tigers 8-0 start on the way to their first Atlantic Coast Conference title in 20 years.
An officer stopped the white Cadillac that Watkins was driving and, after smelling marijuana, asked the player if there was any reason the car might smell like marijuana. Watkins said, “No, I just got the car not long ago,” according to the police report.
Watkins consented to a search of the car and a pat down. Officers found two pills, one for Adderall and the other for Vyvanse, both which Watkins said he did not have a prescription for. The report said officers also turned up a brown medicine bottle and a hand-rolled marijuana blunt beneath the carpet in the trunk. Both Watkins and Dia had plastic bags of “green plant like material believed to marijuana,” on their bodies, according to the report.
The two men were taken to the Clemson city jail. Watkins, 18, was released on a $1,620 personal recognizance bond. Dia, 18, was released on a $620 personal recognizance bond.
Adderall is on the NCAA’s list of banned substances as a stimulant. It is permitted under NCAA rules if the athlete is diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and has a legal prescription. Vyvanse is also used to treat ADHD.
All the charges are classified as misdemeanors. Simple possession of marijuana can bring up to 30 days in jail and a fine of a several hundred dollars. Possession of a controlled substance can bring up to six months in jail and as much as $1,000 fine.
Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips said he was discussing the situation with Swinney and Noonan.
Watkins was a Clemson star who said he shied away from the spotlight. He said in numerous interviews last season that his routine consisted of school, football, studying and little else.
“I stay in,” Watkins, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound wideout from Fort Myers, Fla., said last September. “I go to class, football, I stay in the house most of the time.”
Watkins is considered the centerpiece of Clemson’s offense, which set school records with more than 440 yards a game, 58 touchdowns and 470 points.
“I will learn from this,” Watkins said.
Watkins is the second receiver to get arrested this offseason. Wideout Joe Craig was dismissed from the program in February after his arrest for criminal domestic violence.