Clemson’s Deshaun Watson held a teleconference call on Tuesday to discuss winning the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and preview his busy week, including a stop in New York City for the Heisman Trophy presentation.
Comments on winning the Johnny Unitas award.
“It was a real honor and pleasure to be able to win the Johnny Unitas award. Some of the best quarterbacks in the world were able to win that award. It is good to be able to bring that to Clemson and it is really an honor.”
Will you do anything different in New York this time around?
“For me probably not. I am just going to do what I can and try to enjoy it. I will let my mom do the same thing and probably go on a tour. It is really for them. I don’t want them worrying about me and what I have to do. They will have their free time and enjoy the whole experience.”
How nice is it to see your home town (Gainesville) which normally supports red and black supporting Clemson once again?
“It is an honor. It is really cool. Just to see all of the people I grew up with and have a good relationship with supporting me regardless of who they like and who they don’t like. It was good to get back home and see those people and see all of the orange and be able to talk and just celebrate. That is the reason I am doing it, to be able to have my city out and have more people do things that I am doing,”
What does it mean to represent your hometown like this and to give them that little bit of spotlight so it’s not just Deshaun Watson but your hometown is also being recognized?
“It is great. It is always good to bring positive vibes and positive things to your hometown. So that will show everyone else in that town that they can be able to do great things. They can try to be special to because it is possible. It is always good to see people smile and striving to be whatever they want to be.
Did you have a chance to talk to Lamar Jackson either before or after the game Saturday?
“No I didn’t have the opportunity to.”
You have accomplished so many things at Clemson and in the ACC. Are there one or two milestones or records that you are most proud of?
“Probably the main one is being the first and only FBS quarterback in the history of football to have 4,000 passing and 1,000 rushing in a season. That is something I accomplished last year. That is probably the biggest one because there are so many great quarterbacks that played the game and the ones playing now. That is really hard to do. ”
Were you more nervous last year going to New York City than this year?
“I was more nervous last year just because I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. This year I am just honored to have my name back in the conversation and go to New York again and see all of the Heisman people, the committee and the trustees and just everyone up there. That is one of the good parts of the whole weekend. I am just going to sit back and see what happens.”
What else have you done to relax and get some of the pressure off?
“Really just chill out and spend some time with the family. I hung out with my mom and my little brother and sister and played video games. That was pretty much it.”
How excited are you to go to New York and Atlanta for the awards on Thursday?
“It is going to be a fun weekend. Being able to go to Atlanta back home and then Friday go to Baltimore for the Johnny Unitas and then New York for the Heisman. It will be an exciting weekend for me and my family. We will get to travel and experience different things. ”
If you do win the Heisman who will be the first person that comes to mind as you approach the stage?
“Of course God, but my mom of course will be the first person. She has always been there. If there were negative things coming my way or if I was in a struggle or if I was doing a lot of positive things and the sky was very high she always kept me flat footed and balanced out. She will be the first one and there will be multiple other people in that category.”
When you go back the last twelve months and thing back to the Heisman ceremony and think about all of the attention, the scrutiny and the magazine covers you have had this year how would you describe the last twelve months for you personally?
“It has been a rollercoaster just because of all the attention that has been going my way. I guess as the name gets bigger the more negative things that get thrown your way. Everyone wants to try to find out the negative things about that person. Even when there are more positive and good things that are going on. There is always things that people try to bring up your flaws and weaknesses. It is very rare for people to be perfect. No one is perfect but that is always what they want to talk about in the media. ”
Are you guys more relaxed now that the season is over and you accomplished that goal of getting to the College Football Playoff and put yourself back in position to win a national championship?
“Oh no, no one at this program is relaxed. We don’t have time to relax. You can’t be satisfied because there is always something you can work on and get better at. Once you become complacent that is when bad things and failure is going to happen.
It was a good relief to be able to get back and have a chance to go back to the national championship but we know we have to put in the work and go earn it.”
What is the biggest difference between being the hunter and hunted?
“You are always being watched regardless of who you are playing all eyes are on you. It doesn’t matter when or where you are playing at. Everyone is circling the Clemson game. Last year people were still doubting us and still thinking we were like the previous teams that slipped up here and there. This year all eyes are on us and everyone is bringing their A game each and every week. We understood that and that is why coach Swinney always told us to embrace the target because teams are coming out each and every week and trying to beat us.”
Did you know you were going to be invited before the show last night or did you have to watch like everyone else?
“I just had to watch. I kind of figured and I kind of assumed and hoped that I was getting invited. But I watched the show with my mom and seeing my name get called was a pretty cool experience again and seeing that smile on me and my mom’s face.”
If you could send a message about why you deserve the Heisman what would that be?
“I’m not sure. I guess just to look at the overall body of work over this past year and the strength of schedule. The big time games, the big moments. Every road game was a night game. Big moments each and every week but I understand that it is up to the media and the voters and people like that for them to pick who they think deserves it. At the end of the day I am just happy to be one of those guys in the mix.”
If you were to win it would you walk back into the team room and say guys this is as much for you as it is for me?
“Of course and I think all of the guys understand that too. The guys on my offensive line, the skill guys and the guys on defense. Without them I wouldn’t be in this position. They all know that and understand that. It may be an individual goal but those guys are a big part of me.”
Do you think sometimes too much attention is put on statistics over winning games?
“I guess. It has it’s pros and cons to it. Some guys take more snaps. Some guys take less snaps. Some guys run the ball more and some throw the ball more. It depends on the whole thing. I really don’t get into the stats I just look at the wins and losses. Because my goal is to try and get a national championship not the individual awards.”