On the football field, Deshaun Watson plays with an energy and passion that has made him one of the best quarterbacks in college football.
The Clemson quarterback has gone on to accomplish many first in his time as a Tiger. Besides breaking all kinds of game, season and career records at Clemson and in the ACC, he has also become the first Heisman Finalist at Clemson, as well as the first Clemson quarterback to win the Davey O’Brien Award, the Manning Award and on Friday night he accepted the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award – the first Clemson quarterback to take home that prestigious honor as well.
“I just love the game of football. I have been playing it since the age of six, and probably before that while playing it in my backyard. It is just something that I love and have fun doing,” said Watson on Friday during his acceptance speech for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award in Baltimore.
Off the field, Watson is generally quiet and reserved. But that does not mean he isn’t a leader. He leads with his actions and how he conducts himself.
Watson is never too big for the moment. When he goes back to his hometown of Gainesville, Georgia he makes it a point to see as many people as he can, especially those that helped guide him to be the man he is today.
Watson’s mother and aunt have played a big role in his life and developed his character and his never say quit attitude, while the city of Gainesville, his former teachers and coaches helped him to recognize that he had a gift that can help others as long as he uses it the right way.
“As I got older, I started to realize more people were looking up to me from little kids to grown men and women. They were looking at me to doing the right things,” Watson said.
Perhaps the biggest influence on the way Watson wanted use his gift came at 10 years old when former Atlanta Falcons running back Warrick Dunn helped Watson’s mother, Deann, give her kids a home they could be proud of through Habitat for Humanity.
“Seeing how he used his platform in football to help others, I decided as a young kid I wanted to do the same thing. When I got older, I got more involved with the community. I wanted to help people. I wanted to show them the way to do the right things,” Watson said. “If you want to achieve something, then do it. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it and you have full force and give it 110-percent.”
Watson went on to say that he sees himself as more than just a football player. He wants to be a leader in the community and he wants to guide young people and help them to realize they can do anything they want to do as long as they believe it and they have someone who believes in them.
“If anyone wants to talk to me, I want to be as knowledgeable as I can, learn as much as I can and use this platform for more than just football. That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to graduate in three years,” he said. “If I’m blessed enough to have the opportunity to leave (Clemson) in three years then I can go on and play in the NFL for however long that will last, but I will have my degree and I can come back and have my master’s degree and learn much more.”
Quotes courtesy of WBAL’s Pete Gilberts Facebook Live Video