For most young men, the past eight months might be grueling if they had Deshaun Watson’s schedule. But luckily for second-ranked Clemson, Deshaun Watson isn’t like most young men.
Since the Tigers’ heartbreaking loss to Alabama in the College Football Playoff Championship Game last January, Watson had has been pulled back and forth with award ceremonies, football camps and media opportunities it has seemed like every day.
He has traveled to New York, California, Connecticut, Ohio and Louisiana to make all of his commitments. It has been a whirlwind of an off-season for the Heisman Trophy Finalist.
“It has been a long, but quick one,” Watson said on Monday.
But like head coach Dabo Swinney likes to say, “That’s all in the rearview mirror” as Watson and the Tigers finally get set to play in the season opener on Saturday at Auburn.
“All of that is kind of a distraction and a lot of busy stuff. You want to do something else. You want to be with your teammates, but it is something that I really can’t say ‘no’ to,” Watson said. “At the end of the day, it was really good to travel, experience and meet new people. It does feel good to actually get to the season.
“It is officially game week and I’m ready to get things started.”
Besides traveling the country, Watson has also been loaded with a full class schedule. He took 18 credit hours in the spring, and this past summer he took another 19 hours. He entered the fall semester three weeks ago just five hours short of graduating, all in two and a half years.
“It is very impressive, but the more you are around Deshaun you are not surprised at all. That is who he is,” Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott said.
Watson admits all the distractions, the media requests and all that comes with being a First-Team All-American quarterback can be annoying at times, but he understands it comes with the territory. In fact, he said he embraces all of that.
“I just try to enjoy it as much as I can. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he said. “Who knows if that type of stuff will ever come back again?”
Despite Clemson considered to be one of the favorites to go back to the College Football Playoff this year and contend for a national championship, plus Watson being considered a frontrunner to win the Heisman Trophy as well, some are still wondering if he will play as hard this year since he is considered a possible top-five pick in next spring’s NFL draft.
Watson reportedly has taken out a $5 million insurance policy in the event he is injured. He also could receive another $5 million for an injury that causes a loss of value in the NFL draft.
“In reality, I don’t really care what other people think about me. I have my expectations. I know what I can do and I know what I can’t do, and my teammates know that too,” Watson said. “At the end of the day people are going to have their own opinions. People are going to hate and be jealous. People are going to like me, people are not. I just do what I do … have fun playing football and just enjoy it with my teammates. There is no pressure for me or this team. We just do as we do.”