Anthony Waters, the leading tackler on Clemson's 11th-ranked scoring defense of 2005, has decided to remain at Clemson for his senior season. Waters met with Clemson coaches on Thursday to inform them of his decision.
Waters had 109 tackles to lead the Tigers in 2005, a total that ranked third in the ACC. He will be the leading returning tackler in the conference in 2006. He added 13.5 tackles for loss, a total that also led the team, and added seven passes broken up, most by a Clemson linebacker since 1991. His play was a big reason Clemson won six of its last seven games and finished with a No. 21 ranking according to the Associated Press and USA Today.
"This decision allows me to realize a dream I have had since I came to Clemson, to graduate," said Waters who is on track to earn his undergraduate degree in August. "That has been a personal goal and one my family has looked forward to.
"Also, when I evaluate my situation as a football player, I believe I will have a much better chance of improving my draft status by playing another year at Clemson."
Waters has been a starter each of the last two years. He had 70 tackles when he started all 11 games in 2004. He improved that total to 109 when he started 11 games in 2005. He enters his senior season with 213 career tackles and 22.5 tackles for loss.
Waters had his top game of 2005 when he had 14 tackles, including 4.5 tackles for loss in the 28-24 victory at Maryland. That ranks as the third most tackles for loss in a single game in Clemson history. He was a big reason Clemson ranked in the top 25 in the nation in scoring defense, rushing defense, passing efficiency defense and total defense this past season.
"We are very excited to have Anthony Waters back for his senior year," said Head Coach Tommy Bowden. "He had a very productive year in 2005, and we look forward to him making even more improvement in 2006.
"While Anthony was our leading tackler this past year, he might mean even more to us in terms of his leadership. He filled the role as a junior and I know he will continue in that role as a senior."