During his freshman campaign, Clemson Tiger quarterback Deshaun Watson showed glimpses of what made him one of the top dual threat recruits in the 2014 class. Still, injuries limited his on-field effectiveness, and Watson’s season came to a premature end after suffering a torn right ACL. Watson, however, underwent successful surgery back in January, and according to reports, he is well ahead of schedule for his return.
“He’s doing great,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “If you know anything about Deshaun Watson, you would expect nothing less, other than to hear he’s way ahead of schedule.”
If Watson is able to return to full health and with Jameis Winston moving on to the NFL, Watson should be the heavy favorite to win ACC Offensive Player of the Year and could be in line for further accolades. In Watson’s eight appearances, he threw for 1,466 yards, 14 touchdowns and just two interceptions. Still, it was what Watson was able to do with his feet that separated him from most quarterbacks — he amassed 200 yards and five more touchdowns.
“They have measurables as far as things that they look for with where a guy should be at certain checkpoints (with his recovery),” Swinney explained. “He just beats all those checkpoints. That’s just how he’s wired. Genetically, he’s blessed. His DNA and his work ethic … he’s just wired in a special way.”
With the Florida State Seminoles on the apparent downswing, Watson and the Tigers should be the odds-on favorite to capture the ACC crown. Watson’s health remains a major key to the Tigers’ success and without their young star Clemson could be looking at another disappointing season.
*Section Photo credit to Tyler Smith, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to John David Mercer, USA Today Sports