With at least two games to go and possibly three, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson says he has met his expectations to this point in the season.
The third-ranked Tigers are once again in position to win an ACC Championship, and are one win away from making the College Football Playoff for a second straight year. However, there is one thing Watson says he did not get accomplished this season.
“I wish I would have had less turnovers. That’s the only part of the expectations that I didn’t meet,” he said. “But at the end of the day, it’s been a successful year.”
Watson heads into Saturday’s ACC Championship Game against Virginia Tech, fresh off his best performance of the season. The junior tied his own ACC and Clemson record with six touchdown passes in the Tigers’ 56-7 thrashing of rival South Carolina. His performance earned him ACC Offensive Back of the Week honors.
On Monday, Watson was also named the ACC’s Second-Team quarterback by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media.
“I’ve accomplished everything that I really wanted to accomplish, and winning games that I want to win and having the opportunity to win another ACC Championship and get to the playoffs again,” he said. “Everything else will take care of itself. I feel like I’ve gotten better as a player, as a person, and as a man.”
What about the Heisman Trophy?
“You know, I’m just out there – all I can do is influence and focus on the way I’m performing and playing on the big stage and winning games. You know, I really don’t have much say-so in who wins it,” Watson said. “That’s up to the voters. I finished up last year and thought I did enough to win it last year, but I guess I didn’t.
“At the end of the day it’s all in guys’ hands, the voters, and who they feel like really deserves it.”
It’s hard to argue against Watson’s numbers. He finished the regular season leading the ACC in passing yards (3,626), passing average (302.2) and touchdown passes (34). He was also second in the conference in completion percentage (67.5).
Watson is in the top 16 nationally in just about every major category for a quarterback as well. However, it’s his 14 interceptions that keep Watson from possibly catching Louisville’s Lamar Jackson in the Heisman Trophy race.
“I’m just focusing on what I can control, nothing else,” the Clemson quarterback said. “Not anything more than that. Keep everything simple, keep life simple, and just understand that people are going to have their own opinions, and everything is not going to be perfect.
“I’m not going to have a perfect season and don’t make any mistakes. I’m a human being. I’m an athlete, and regardless of what level of competition you’re in, if you’re in high school, college or the professional league, you’re going to make mistakes, and since I’ve got so much attention off the field and on the field throughout the off-season and throughout the season, and coming into the season, that’s all they really talked about was my name and all the success that I was going to do.”
But here he is. Despite all of those different opinions, good and bad, Watson has stayed the course. He has stayed focused. He is still in the Heisman Trophy competition, his has led his Tigers to an 11-1 record and he is still one win away from going back to the College Football Playoff.
“It’s been successful. I’ve met my expectations,” Watson said.
–Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports