Quarterback Deshaun Watson was one of five Clemson players named to The Associated Press All-America Teams on Monday. It’s the most players the Clemson football program has had selected on the AP All-America Teams in one year.
Watson, along with defensive tackle Carlos Watkins, was named to the second team, while defensive lineman Christian Wilkins, linebacker Ben Boulware and cornerback Cordrea Tankersley were named to the third team.
This is the second straight year Watson has earned All-America honors from the AP. In 2015, he was named First-Team All-America before leading the Tigers to the National Championship Game.
The runner-up to Lamar Jackson in the 2016 Heisman Trophy race, Watson arguably had a better season this year than he did in 2015. The Clemson quarterback has completed 329 of 487 passes for 3,914 yards and 37 touchdowns. He ranks fourth in the nation in completions, fifth in touchdown passes, eighth in completion percentage and eighth in total offense.
His 37 touchdown passes, which led the ACC, are a Clemson season-record and second in ACC history behind the 40 touchdowns Florida State’s Jameis Winston had when he won the Heisman in 2013. Watson has added 526 yards rushing, giving him 4,440 yards of total offense.
Watson finished the regular strong, connecting on 138 of 186 passes for 1,586 yards and 15 touchdowns over the last five games. That is a 74 percent completion percentage. He had 20 combined touchdowns rushing and passing in the last five games, including 11 in the last two games, and averaged 356.8 total yards.
Watkins recorded 65 tackles this year and had a team-high 8.5 sacks, the most by a Clemson defensive tackle since 1990. He also broke up three passes.
After moving to defensive end following an injury to Austin Bryant, Wilkins became a force out on the edge for the Tigers. He played a major role in why the Tigers’ rank ninth in total and 12th in scoring defense nationally. The sophomore has 51 tackles, including a team-high 12.5 tackles for loss.
Boulware led Clemson with 113 tackles this season. The weakside backer also had nine tackles for loss, four sacks, an interception, two passes defended and nine quarterback pressures.
Tankersley finished the regular season with three interceptions, including two in the ACC Championship Game. One set up a Clemson touchdown in the third quarter, while the second came on Virginia Tech’s last possession, sealing the victory for the Tigers.
One of the best tacklers on the team, Tankersley has 54 tackles, including six for loss. He has 10 passes broken up to go with his three interceptions, which rank second on the team.
Clemson, who the ACC Championship for a second straight year, will play Ohio State on New Year’s Eve in the College Football Semifinals at the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.
The AP All-America teams
QB — Lamar Jackson, sophomore, 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, Louisville
RB — D’Onta Foreman, junior, 6-2, 249, Texas; Dalvin Cook, junior, 5-11, 213, Florida State
OTs — Cam Robinson, junior, 6-6, 310, Alabama; Ryan Ramczyk, junior, 6-6, 314, Wisconsin
OGs — Cody O’Connell, junior, 6-8, 354, Washington State; Dan Feeney, senior, 6-4, 305, Indiana.
C — Pat Elflein, senior, 6-3, 300, Ohio State
TE — Evan Engram, senior, 6-3, 235, Mississippi
WRs — Dede Westbrook, senior, 6-0, 176, Oklahoma; Corey Davis, senior, 6-3, 213, Western Michigan
All-purpose — Curtis Samuel, junior, 5-11 197, Ohio State
Kicker — Zane Gonzalez, senior, 6-1, 195, Arizona State
DEs — Myles Garrett, junior, 6-5, 270, Texas A&M; Derek Barnett, junior, 6-3, 265, Tennessee
DTs — Jonathan Allen, junior, 6-3, 290, Alabama; Ed Oliver, freshman, 6-2, 290, Houston
LBs — Reuben Foster, senior, 6-1, 228, Alabama; Zach Cunningham, junior, 6-2, 230, Vanderbilt; Jabrill Peppers, junior, 6-1, 205, Michigan
CBs — Jourdan Lewis, senior, 5-11, 186, Michigan; Adoree’ Jackson, junior, 5-11, 185, Southern California
Safeties — Malik Hooker, sophomore, 6-2, 205, Ohio State; Minkah Fitzpatrick, sophomore, 6-1, 200, Alabama
Punter — Mitch Wishnowsky, sophomore, 6-2, 220, Utah
QB — Deshaun Watson, junior, Clemson
RBs — Donnel Pumphrey, senior, San Diego State; Christian McCaffrey, junior, Stanford
OTs– Connor Williams, sophomore, Texas; Orlando Brown, sophomore, Oklahoma
OGs — Billy Price, junior, Ohio State; Will Hernandez, junior, UTEP
C — Tyler Orlovsky, senior, West Virginia
TE — Jake Butt, senior, Michigan
WRs — Zay Jones, senior, East Carolina; John Ross, junior, Washington
All-purpose — Quadree Henderson, sophomore, Pitt
Kicker — Daniel Carlson, junior, Auburn
DEs — DeMarcus Walker, senior, Florida State; Harold Landry, junior, Boston College
DTs — Carlos Watkins, senior, Clemson; Montravius Adams, senior, Auburn
LBs — Raekwon McMillan, junior, Ohio State; T.J. Watt, junior, Wisconsin; Tim Williams, senior, Alabama
CBs — Rasul Douglas, senior, West Virginia; Desmond King, senior, Iowa
Safeties — Budda Baker, junior, Washington; Jamal Adams, junior, LSU
Punter — Cameron Johnston, senior, Ohio State
QB — Baker Mayfield, junior, Oklahoma
RBs — Saquon Barkley, sophomore, Penn State; Aaron Jones, junior, UTEP
OTs — Mike McGlinchey, senior, Notre Dame; Forrest Lamp, senior, Western Kentucky
OGs — Nico Siragusa, senior, San Diego State; Quenton Nelson, junior, Notre Dame
C — Ethan Pocic, senior, LSU
TE — O.J. Howard, senior, Alabama
WRs — Amba Etta-Tawo, senior, Syracuse; Austin Carr, senior, Northwestern
All-purpose — Christian Kirk, sophomore, Texas A&M
Kicker — Gary Wunderlich, junior, Mississippi
DEs — Hunter Dimick, senior, Utah; Jordan Willis, senior, Kansas State
DTs — Christian Wilkins, sophomore, Clemson; Solomon Thomas, junior, Stanford
LBs — Kendell Beckwith, senior, LSU; Jimmie Gilbert, senior, Colorado; Ben Boulware, senior, Clemson
CBs — Teez Tabor, junior, Florida; Cordrea Tankersley, senior, Clemson
Safeties — Nathan Gerry, senior, Nebraska; Weston Steelhammer, senior, Air Force
Punter — Michael Dickson, sophomore, Texas