ATLANTA — While his teammates are enjoying a few days of rest and relaxation with their families over the next three days before beginning preparation for the Fiesta Bowl, Deshaun Watson is the middle of his three-day tour on the college football awards circuit.
It’s been a busy week for the Clemson quarterback since he led the Tigers to a second straight ACC Championship Game last Saturday in Orlando, Florida where he earned Most Valuable Player honors. He spent a day back home with family and friends in Gainesville, Ga., after the ACC Championship Game, and then returned to Clemson to take his final exams as an undergraduate on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“It has not hit me yet because we are now just getting things started,” Watson said. “I’m just glad knowing that I have finished school. I got to come back to Atlanta, again, and I go to Baltimore and then New York. Just being able to achieve these things and travel a little bit, it’s going to be a fun weekend. I’m going to embrace it and appreciate all the moments and just take it one day at a time.”
On Thursday, Watson was in Atlanta for the Home Depot College Football Award’s Show, where he took home the Davey O’Brien Award as the nation’s best quarterback. He is the first quarterback to win the Davey O’Brien Award in back-to-back years since Oklahoma’s Jason White did it in the 2003 and 2004 seasons.
Watson is the fourth quarterback to win the award multiple times, joining White, BYU’s Ty Detmer (1990, ‘91) and Florida’s Danny Wuerffel (1995, ‘96). The honor has been presented annually to the nation’s top quarterback since 1981.
Today, Watson will board a plane and fly into Baltimore to accept the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award as the nation’s top graduating quarterback. After tonight’s ceremony, he will hop on a train and ride to New York City where he will participate in the Heisman Trophy presentation for a second year in a row on Saturday.
But don’t think any of these events are bothering the All-American quarterback. He says he is having a blast, and he is just relieved his exams are over and this time next week he will be a Clemson graduate.
“The last final went great,” he said after winning the Davey O’Brien Award on Thursday. “I’m just excited because next Thursday at this time, I will have a degree in my hand and I’ll be a Clemson graduate. It feels great.”
Watson’s last exam was in his political communications class.
“I’m just soaking it all in because this is my last one,” he said. “I’m just taking it all in and enjoying it.”
Today will be Watson’s first trip to Baltimore. The Johnny Unitas Foundation will take him on a tour of the city before he attends tonight’s reception dinner.
The junior signal-caller, who was named a Walter Camp Second-Team All-American on Thursday as well, has put together another record-setting season. In Clemson’s 42-35 win over Virginia Tech that clinched a second straight ACC title and berth in the College Football Playoff, Watson accounted for five touchdowns. With three touchdown passes, he broke the Clemson record for a single season with 37. He has accounted for 43 touchdowns in all, to go along with 4,440 yards of total offense.
After he gets back to Clemson on Monday, he and the rest of his teammates will begin work on the College Football semifinal game at the Fiesta Bowl, where they will play No. 3 Ohio State.
“It’s a blessing to be where I am at. I’m enjoying the moment,” Watson said. “I do not want to get too far ahead or get too caught up in all the other stuff. I’m just going to enjoy this moment right now and then whenever we prepare for Ohio State we will prepare for that and get ready for the game.”