With six seconds left from the two-yard line and trailing Nick Saban’s mighty undefeated Alabama Crimson Tide 31-28, anyone who knows Clemson QB Deshaun Watson knew the only way this game was ending was with the Tigers hoisting the National Championship trophy.
Sure enough, Gainesville Red Elephants legend (class of 2014) ran a bootleg out to the right, giving him the option to tuck-and-run, or hit sophomore Hunter Renfrow in the end zone. He did the latter, as Renfrow, who had 10 catches for 92 yards and 2 TD in the championship game, hauled in and secured the winning score. Clemson won 35-31, avenging their National Title loss to the Crimson Tide last year. Whereas Alabama netted the improbable finish a year ago, it was only fitting that Watson and company returned the favor.
For Watson, the ensuing moments were fulfilling of what he set out to do from before he ever took a snap at Clemson. Need evidence? We’ve got it for you. In the video below, Watson went one-on-one with BLITZ the day before departing for Clemson. He shared parts of his touching story, showing you where he came from and the reason behind his strong faith. He also explained how in middle school he told his friends that they would win a state championship their junior year of high school. Fast forward to 2012 – his junior year – and there Deshaun Watson is in the Georgia Dome holding a State Championship trophy after taking down Ware County.
Call it coincidence if you want…but after asking what other lofty goals he’d like to share and the shots he’d like to call, he was quick to rattle off a list that many would laugh at at the time: Heisman back-to-back, National Champions back-to-back, first-round NFL draft pick, get his degree, go undefeated at Clemson.
OK – for the record Watson didn’t accomplish those to exact specifications. Yet he did accomplish them at the same time. Who else but him could have come as close as possible? He was a Heisman finalist in both 2015 and 2016, and should have won this year if not both years. He made back-to-back National Championship games for Clemson, and if it weren’t for a late collapse last year, he would have been dead on with that prediction, too. In the 2015 season, Clemson was undefeated until the National Title game…so there’s that also. Watson earned his degree already (a year early), and after the National Championship Monday night, he verbally confirmed that he will enter the 2017 NFL Draft, where he is rated as an almost-guaranteed first-round pick as the #3-ranked QB in the Draft, according to experts.
For Deshaun Watson, he wasn’t going to settle for less than he dreamed. He worked hard to accomplish all of those dreams. So it’s no surprise that he led Clemson to be the first team to ever beat Nick Saban in a National Championship game. It was no surprise when the Tide scored a go-ahead touchdown with 2:07 to go that Deshaun Watson would get the final say-so. A teary-eyed Watson may have been at a loss for words seconds after taking a knee to run out the final second, but even he’ll tell you he was never surprised or shocked that the end result was exactly as he called it over three years ago before playing a down for the Tigers.
Watson is the all-time leader in GHSA history with 13,077 passing yards and 159 TD passes. He tallied 218 all-purpose touchdowns. The former Red Elephant was rated the #1 dual-threat QB in the nation and was a 5-star recruit who committed to Clemson during his sophomore season. He had offers from countless programs, and had in his final five UGA, Oregon, Auburn and Ohio State outside of Clemson. He finishes his collegiate career as a two-time Heisman finalist, a National Champion, two-time ACC Champion and arguably the best player to ever put on a Clemson uniform. He also is arguably the greatest college player not to win a Heisman Trophy. Watson tallied 10,168 passing yards and 90 TD, adding 1,929 rushing yards and 26 more scores.
A closer look at those goals Watson set gives you a glance into the heart of Deshaun Watson – a man who doesn’t have a crystal ball, but relies on his faith in God. Deshaun has never been one to shy away from stating that God has blessed him with his talent and for putting him in a position to accomplish all that he sets out to do. And as long as he sticks to that recipe, it’s guaranteed that the sky is the limit for Watson! What’s next? We’re guessing a Super Bowl within the first five years of his NFL career!