Former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson became the first athlete in school history to win an ESPY Award on Wednesday evening. Watson was named the Best Male College Athlete at the ESPY Awards program in Los Angeles.
Other finalists for the award were Ian Harkes, Wake Forest soccer; Frank Mason, Kansas basketball; Matt Rambo, Maryland lacrosse; Zain Retherford, Penn State wrestling.
It was the last of a long list of awards from the 2016 season for the native of Gainesville, Ga., who quarterbacked Clemson to its first national championship in 35 years on Jan. 9.
Watson was named the ACC Athlete of the Year last month, the second time he was honored by the league. He is the first two-time ACC Athlete of the Year since Charlie Ward of Florida State in 1993 and ‘94.
Watson won the Davey O’Brien Award, the Manning Award, and the Unitas Award as the top quarterback in college football in 2016. The two-time All-American was the Most Valuable player of the ACC Championship game, the College Football Playoff Semifinal victory over Ohio State and the National Championship victory over Alabama.
Against Alabama, Watson set a national championship record with 420 yards on 36-of-56 passing. He threw for three touchdowns and ran for another in 35-31 victory. He did not have a turnover in the game.
The No. 12 selection in the 2017 NFL draft by the Houston Texans this past April, Watson led Clemson to a 32-3 record in his career with the Tigers. He was a two-time All-American and winner of the 2016 Bobby Bowden Award as the top all-around student-athlete in college football. He was also named Academic All-ACC in 2014 and 2016 and graduated in just three years.
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