Clemson DT Watkins grateful for return to football

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 21, 2014 at 3:18 pm •  Published: August 21, 2014

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Clemson defensive tackle Carlos Watkins is determined not to forget that fatal car wreck that cost him a childhood friend — and forever changed his perspective on life and football.

Watkins was riding to a cookout near his hometown of Mooresboro, North Carolina, last September when the car slid off a rainy road, overturned and slammed into a utility pole. The North Carolina Highway Patrol says Watkins' longtime friend — "He was like a big brother," Watkins says — Dache Gossett was ejected from the car and pronounced dead at the scene.

When Watkins awoke at an area hospital, he learned the horrible news of Gossett's death.

While Watkins didn't play last season after the wreck, he vows to bring Gossett's spirit to the field for every snap.