Former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson will appear on Jon Gruden’s QB Camp this coming Tuesday at 8:30 on ESPN2. Watson’s appearance will be the first of nine episodes of Gruden’s QB Camp.
Gruden’s QB Camp series, a signature element of ESPN’s annual pre-NFL Draft coverage, returns for its eighth year. In all, 50 quarterbacks – including 15 current NFL starters – have participated in the series. Notable players include Super Bowl champion Russell Wilson, former No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck, 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton, two-time Pro Bowler Derek Carr and 2016 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Dak Prescott, who was mentored by Gruden just a year ago.
Former Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd participated in Gruden’s QB Camp in the spring of 2014.
Watson, who led Clemson to the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship, headlines this year’s QB Camp class.
“There’s some unknowns this year, but this class starts with Deshaun Watson,” Gruden said. “His body of work is as impressive as any quarterback we’ve had come through QB Camp. I got the chance to see him live and I think he has a ton of ability.”
Watson is the most decorated college player the past two seasons, winning both the Dave O’Brien Award and Manning Award twice (2015 and 2016), as well as the 2016 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.
“Watson has the best resume of anyone,” Gruden said. “He has an unbelievable amount of production and an impressive record – 32 wins in three years as a starter. He shredded some of the best teams in the country. He’s a dual threat with loads of intangibles. I am really looking forward to working with him to see how he spins it.”
Gruden also said he could not figure out why Watson did not when the Heisman Trophy. He watched tape of former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson beat up on the likes of Notre Dame, Florida State, Oklahoma, Ohio State and Alabama the last two years – a résumé few quarterbacks have ever accomplished, if any, and he still did not win the Heisman Trophy.
When he interviewed Watson a few weeks back, Gruden seriously looked puzzled on how that happened. In two games against Alabama’s great defenses, Watson totaled 941 yards, eight touchdowns and just one turnover. His 478 total yards in the 2015 title game is the most in national championship game history, while his 420 passing yards in the Tigers’ 2016 championship game win, broke his own mark for passing yards in a title game.
Watson also led his team to fourth-quarter come-from-behind victories over Florida State and Louisville in 2016, and twice he rallied Clemson from two scores to beat Alabama.
“When I go back to the Heisman and you beat Ohio State like you beat them as the starting quarterback, then you beat Notre Dame, in the rain, and Notre Dame was a heck of a team two years ago,” Gruden said to Watson turning the taping of Gruden’s QB Camp. “You beat Oklahoma, a great team. You beat Oklahoma, Notre Dame, you beat Florida State in Tallahassee in the two-minute drill … I’m just curious. Does it tick you off? How can you not win the Heisman with this body of work? You even beat Alabama, you got them, too.
“What do you have to do to win that Heisman?”
Watson shrugged his shoulders, smiled and said laughing, “I’m not sure. I guess lose a couple of games and then win it, but I just kind of keep it in the back of mind. Like Coach Swinney said, I didn’t miss out on the Heisman I guess they missed out on me.”