As anticipated, Deshaun Watson will forgo his senior season and enter the 2017 NFL Draft. He made the announcement after winning the College Football National Championship, and he will head into next spring’s lottery in a class of quarterbacks turning out to be one of the poorest in recent memory. Watson will draw much attention for leading his Clemson Tigers to back-to-back National Championship appearances, particularly because he was able to overtake the vaunted Alabama Crimson Tide defense just a year after falling short of them in primetime. He will battle with Mitch Trubisky to be the first quarterback taken off the board.
Born: Gainesville, Georgia
Weight: 210 lbs
Team: Clemson University
Deshaun Watson Stats
Ranked as the top high school quarterback in the 2014 class by ESPN 300, Watson chose Clemson over offers from Florida State, USC, Auburn, and Alabama. He would spend three seasons with the Tigers.
Playing as a true freshman, Watson entered the season as the backup to Cole Stoudt before outperforming him and taking the job on September 21. Watson would post stellar numbers as a young pup, with 1,466 passing yards and 14 touchdowns to just two interceptions. That was good enough for 61.7 completion percentage despite missing five full games due to injury. He would undergo offseason knee surgery to repair a torn ACL after playing on the bum leg against the rival South Carolina Gamecocks.
Helping lead his team to an undefeated 12-0 mark and a berth in the College Football Playoff, Watson helped unseat Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl before falling to Alabama in the National Championship Game. However, he would make history in the loss, setting a total yards record with 478 (405 passing/ 73 rushing). His entire season was equally as impressive, as he amassed over 4,000 yards through the air and rushed for over 1,000 yards over the course of 14 games. He received ACC Offensive Player of the Year and ACC Player of the Year honors in a spectacular season. He made an appearance in New York as a Heisman Trophy finalist but would finish third behind Alabama’s Derrick Henry. He would throw 35 touchdowns to 13 interceptions while posting a 67.8 completion percentage.
Watson improved in several areas from his sophomore to junior season. The Tigers would complete a one-loss season with a win over Alabama in the National Championship Game, a contest in which Watson received the Offensive MVP award. He would set individual records with 4,593 passing yards and 41 touchdowns on 579 attempts. His rushing totals dipped a bit, but he still posted 629 yards on the ground with nine scores.
It is very likely Watson could be the first player drafted, going to the Cleveland Browns, who have the first pick. The Browns have overhauled their entire roster and could jumpstart the rebuilding process if they believe Watson is a franchise quarterback. While he has posted numbers that would extract such attention, his accuracy and anticipation are a few of the concerns scouts are worried about. Additionally, Watson wasn’t asked to read through many progressions in the Clemson offense and took snaps almost exclusively out of the shotgun.
Wherever he lands, Watson will bring a winning presence after historical and dominating success with the Tigers.