Finally, someone got it right.
Deshaun Watson was finally recognized for the kind of quarterback, football player and teammate he was at Clemson University. The Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (ACSMA) voted the Tigers’ All-American quarterback as the Atlantic Coast Conference’s top Male Athlete of the Year on Friday.
It’s good to see ACSMA make up for the mistake it made at the end of the 2016 season when they named Louisville’s Lamar Jackson as the ACC Player of the Year and relegated Watson to second-team quarterback.
However, at the time, I could see their reasoning due to what Jackson did for much of the year, but it was obvious by the time the College Football Playoff rolled around Watson was clearly the better overall player. That is why I have always said season awards should not be handed out until after the entire body of work for a season is completed … that means the postseason, too.
Watson, who earned the 64th Anthony J. McKevlin Award as the conference’s premier male athlete, is a repeat winner from last year. He is the first repeat winner of the award since Charlie Ward in 1992-‘93 and 1993-‘94.
By the way, Ward won the 1993 Heisman Trophy and was ACC Player of the Year in football in 1992 and 1993. Everyone got it right in those years, not so much this past season.
If the Heisman voters and ACC voters waited until the entire season was completed, then Watson would have won both awards in 2016. Granted, Watson struggled at the beginning of last season and his interception total was high. But when it matters the most, when the game and the season were on the line, nobody was better than Deshaun Watson in college football.
Just go ask Alabama’s Nick Saban, he’ll tell you who the best player in the country was. I mean no disrespect to Lamar Jackson. I think he is a great college football player, but he was not the best player in the country in 2016.
Sure, he looked flashy at times doing things and he put up some big numbers, but Jackson struggled at the end of the season and his team lost their last three games.
While Jackson struggled, Watson was magnificent down the stretch as he led the Tigers to five straight wins to close this year, including a thrashing of Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl and then a last-second come-from-behind victory over Alabama in the national championship game.
Watson, again, set another national championship game record against what was called the best Alabama defense of all-time going in as he threw for 420 yards while completing 36-of-56 passes and three touchdowns with no interceptions.
He was named MVP of the game after he threw a two-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow with one second left, completing a 9-play, 68-yard game-winning drive in the final 2:07, lifting Clemson to its first national championship in 35 years.
That’s what great players are supposed to do. That’s what Heisman Trophy winners are supposed to do. That’s what Male Athletes of the Year are supposed to do. I’m glad to see ACSMA did what it was supposed to do.
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