|Clemson Tigers No. 4|
|High school||Gainesville (GA)|
|Date of birth||September 14, 1995|
|Place of birth||Gainesville, Georgia|
|Height||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Weight||218 lb (99 kg)|
|Career highlights and awards|
Deshaun Watson was born on September 14, 1995. Watson attended Gainesville High School in Gainesville, Georgia. Watson arrived at Gainesville in the Fall of 2010. Gainesville Head Coach Bruce Miller had planned to start a rising junior to quarterback his spread offense, but Watson won the starting spot. Deshaun Watson was the first freshman quarterback Coach Miller had ever started. During his career he set numerous state records, including total yards (17,134), total touchdowns (218), career passing yards (13,077), and career passing touchdowns (155). He also rushed for 4,057 yards and 63 touchdowns. Watson excelled in his junior year, winning a state championship and earning accolades such as Junior All-American, 2014 Player to Watch, and 2014 Top 100 Recruit. During his Sophomore and Senior year he was able to lead the Gainesville High School Football Team to the state semi-finals.
Watson received offers from numerous colleges before committing to Clemson. Some of the offers he considered most seriously came from schools such as the University of Alabama, Auburn University, Florida State University, University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Louisiana State University, Ohio State, University of Oregon, and University of Southern California. Watson verbally committed to Clemson on February 1, 2012. He was ranked the number one quarterback recruit for the 2014 class by ESPN 300. Since his commitment to Clemson University in 2012, Deshaun Watson has frequently been compared to Clemson’s recently graduated, record-setting quarterback Tajh Boyd. Both Watson and Boyd are considered dual-threat quarterbacks, earning consistent yards in both the passing and rushing stats. They also both ran the spread offense and were given the power to choose which play the team ran depending on what they saw in the defense prior to snapping the ball.
Watson entered his true freshman season as the backup to starter Cole Stoudt, but still received extensive playing time. During his high school career, Watson wore number 4. At Clemson, that number had been retired after quarterback Steve Fuller graduated. However, Fuller allowed the number to come out of retirement so that Watson could wear it. Through three games, he had completed 29 of 41 passes for 479 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions, outperforming Stoudt. Watson was named the Tigers starter on September 21. In Watson's first career start vs. the North Carolina Tar Heels, Watson set a Clemson record with six touchdown passes and threw for 435 yards in route to a 50–35 victory.
On October 11, 2014, Watson broke a bone in his right hand in a game against the Louisville Cardinals. He left in the 1st quarter and was out for the game and also out for the games against Boston College, Syracuse, & Wake Forest. He would return for the game against Georgia Tech only to suffer an LCL strain, missing most of the game. During the following week in practice it was reported that Watson had tweaked his knee; it was later revealed that he had torn his ACL. Watson would not play against Georgia State the following week. But he did come back the following week to play against state rival South Carolina; after defeating the Gamecocks it was revealed to the public that Watson had played the game with a torn ACL.
He underwent surgery to repair his ACL the Friday before Clemson's bowl game against Oklahoma.
In 2015, Watson led the Clemson football team to an undefeated 12-0 regular season and a #1 ranking in the polls. After the regular season, the Tigers qualified for the ACC Championship Game, facing off against #10 North Carolina. Watson threw for 289 yards and 3 touchdowns and ran for 131 yards and 2 touchdowns in the game to lead the Tigers to a 45-37 win over the Tar Heels, winning the ACC Championship for the first time since 2011. Watson was also named the ACC Championship Game MVP for his performance. The Tigers were selected to participate in the 2016 College Football Playoff and were selected as the #1 seed. The Tigers faced off against the #4 seed Oklahoma Sooners in the Orange Bowl, one of the two CFP Semifinal games. Watson threw for 189 yards and a touchdown and ran for 145 yards and a touchdown as he led Clemson to a 37-17 victory over the Sooners. Watson was named the 2015 Orange Bowl Offensive MVP for his performance. With the win, the Tigers advanced to the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship game against #2 Alabama Crimson Tide. Watson threw for 405 yards and four touchdowns in the game and ran for another 73 yards on the ground in the losing effort. Watson surpassed the 4,000 yard passing mark for the season in this game. Deshaun Watson set the record for most total yards in national championship game history, with 478 yards (405 passing / 73 rushing) against the nation's best defense. In addition to throwing for over 4,000 yards, Watson also rushed for over 1,000 yards to complete his true sophomore season. Watson was the first, and currently the only, player ever to accomplish this feat in the history of college football.
For his accomplishments during the 2015 season, Watson was named a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, the first time a Clemson player has been invited to the Heisman Trophy Presentation. Watson finished third in the balloting after winner Derrick Henry of Alabama and Christian McCaffrey of Stanford. Watson's third-place finish in Heisman voting is the best finish in Clemson football history. Watson won the Davey O'Brien Award, which is awarded annually to the best college quarterback. Furthermore, Watson was also named the 2015 ACC Player of the Year and the ACC Offensive Player of the Year.
Watson enrolled at Clemson in January 2014. In 2016, it was reported that he will graduate in December 2016, after three years in school.
Watson finished with 378 passing yards and two touchdowns against Florida State on October 29, 2016, rallying to a 37-34 win. Against Syracuse on November 5, 2016, Watson had 169 passing yards with two touchdowns, but left the game with an apparent shoulder injury. In 2016, Watson was selected as the winner of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and was the first repeat winner of the Manning Award. For the second year in row, Watson was named one of five Heisman Trophy candidates, along with Michigan's Jabrill Peppers, Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield and Dede Westbrook, and Louisville's Lamar Jackson. For the second year in row, Watson came up short of winning the Heisman, as Louisville's Lamar Jackson was awarded the Heisman for his efforts and performances throughout the 2016 season, finishing with nearly twice as many first place votes as Watson. After defeating Ohio State 31–0 in the CFP semifinal (Fiesta Bowl) and receiving the offensive MVP award for his efforts, Clemson defeated No. 1 Alabama 35–31 in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship. This gave the Clemson Tigers program their second national championship in school history, ending a three decade national championship drought. Watson was awarded the offensive MVP award for his performance during the national championship game.
On November 8, 2016, Watson, along with four other Clemson players, declared for the NFL draft.
In 2006, when Watson was 11 years old, Atlanta Falcons running back Warrick Dunn donated a home to his family. It was donated through Dunn's charity Homes for the Holidays (HMTH), who partnered with Habitat for Humanity.