Watson in 2016
|No. 4 – Houston Texans|
September 14, 1995 |
|Height:||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Weight:||215 lb (98 kg)|
|High school:||Gainesville (GA)|
|NFL Draft:||2017 / Round: 1 / Pick: 12|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics as of 2017|
Derrick Deshaun Watson (born September 14, 1995) is an American football quarterback for the Houston Texans of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Clemson and led the team to a national championship game appearance in 2015 and a national championship win in 2016. He was selected by the Texans 12th overall in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Watson attended Gainesville High School in Gainesville, Georgia, arriving there in the fall of 2010. He played for the school's football team. Gainesville head coach Bruce Miller had planned to start a rising junior to quarterback his spread offense, but Watson won the starting spot. He was the first freshman quarterback Coach Miller had ever started.
During his career, Watson set numerous state records, including total yards (17,134), total touchdowns (218), career passing yards (13,077), and career passing touchdowns (155). He 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 years, he led the Gainesville High School Football Team to the state semi-finals.
Watson received offers from numerous colleges before verbally committing to Clemson University to play college football on February 1, 2012. He was ranked the number one quarterback recruit for the 2014 class by ESPN 300.
Watson enrolled at Clemson in January 2014. During his high school career, Watson had worn #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. He entered his true freshman season as the backup to starter Cole Stoudt, but still received extensive playing time. Through three games, he 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 against the North Carolina Tar Heels, he set a school record with six touchdown passes and threw for 435 yards en 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 first quarter and was out for the game. As a result of the injury, he missed the games against Boston College, Syracuse, and Wake Forest. He returned 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. He did not play against Georgia State the following week, but came 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.
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In 2015, Watson led Clemson 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 three touchdowns, and ran for 131 yards and two 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. They faced off against the #4 seed Oklahoma Sooners in the Orange Bowl, one of the two College Football Playoff 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, where Clemson lost 45-40. Watson threw for 405 yards and four touchdowns in the game, and ran for another 73 yards on the ground in the losing effort. He surpassed the 4,000 yard passing mark for the season in this game. He 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, he 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. He finished third in the balloting after winner Derrick Henry, running back from Alabama, and Christian McCaffrey, running back from Stanford. Watson's third-place finish in Heisman voting is the best finish in Clemson football history. He won the Davey O'Brien Award, which is awarded annually to the best college quarterback. He was also named the 2015 ACC Player of the Year and ACC Offensive Player of the Year.
Watson started his junior season off positive with 248 passing yards, one touchdown, and one interception in a narrow 19–13 victory over the Auburn Tigers. On October 1, against Louisville, Watson finished with 306 passing yards, five touchdowns, and three interceptions in the 42–36 victory. 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, he had 169 passing yards with two touchdowns, but left the game with an apparent shoulder injury. On November 26, against South Carolina, he passed for 347 yards, six touchdowns, and one interception in the 56–7 victory.
In the fall of 2016, Watson became the first player since Jason White in 2003-2004 to win the Davey O'Brien Award in back-to-back years. That year he was also 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. He again came up short of winning, as Louisville's Lamar Jackson was awarded the Heisman Trophy 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. Watson completed 36-of-56 passes for 420 yards and three touchdowns against the nation's top-ranked defense, including the last-second game-winning pass to wide receiver, Hunter Renfrow. He also rushed for 43 yards and a touchdown. This gave the Clemson Tigers program its 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 three other Clemson players, Wayne Gallman, Artavis Scott, and Mike Williams, declared for the NFL Draft. In December 2016, Watson graduated with a degree in Communications after three years at Clemson.
Coming out of Clemson, Watson was projected to be a first round pick by the majority of scouts and analysts. He was ranked as the top quarterback available in the draft by Sports Illustrated, Pro Football Focus, and ESPN. He was ranked the second best quarterback by NFLDraftScout.com.
|Ht||Wt||Arm length||Hand size||40‑yd dash||10-yd split||20-yd split||20‑ss||3‑cone||Vert jump||Broad||Wonderlic|
|6 ft 2 1⁄2 in
|9 3⁄4 in
|4.66 s||4.31 s||6.95 s||32 1⁄2 in
|9 ft 11 in
|All values from NFL Combine|
The Houston Texans drafted Watson in the first round with the 12th overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft. The Texans acquired the pick from the Cleveland Browns, trading their 25th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft and their first round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. He was the third quarterback taken in the draft, behind Mitchell Trubisky, who went second overall to the Chicago Bears, and Patrick Mahomes II, who went tenth overall to the Kansas City Chiefs. On May 12, 2017, the Texans signed Watson to a four-year, $13.84 million contract featuring a $8.21 million signing bonus.
Watson made his first regular-season appearance on September 10, 2017, against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He entered the game after Tom Savage was benched at halftime. He played for the remainder of the game. In the third quarter, he threw his first NFL touchdown, a 4-yard pass to wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. He finished with 102 passing yards, a touchdown, and an interception, as the Texans lost by a score of 29–7.
Watson made his first career start on September 14, 2017, which was his 22nd birthday, during Thursday Night Football on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals. He finished with 125 passing yards, 67 rushing yards, and a 49-yard rushing touchdown as the Texans won 13–9. During Week 3 against the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, Watson finished with 301 passing yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions as the Texans lost 36–33. During Week 4 against the Tennessee Titans, he completed 25-of-34 passes for 283 yards, four touchdowns and one interception while also rushing for 24 yards and one touchdown as the Texans won 57–14. His five total scores tied the NFL rookie touchdown record. He is also the first rookie to pass for at least four touchdowns and rush for one touchdown in a game since Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton did so for the Minnesota Vikings in 1961. His performance in Week 4 earned him AFC Offensive Player of the Week. Watson followed up his Week 4 performance with another great outing, this time on NBC Sunday Night Football against the Kansas City Chiefs. In the 42–34 loss, Watson finished 16-of-31 for 261 yards and five touchdown passes, tying an NFL rookie record for touchdown passes thrown in a single game. In addition, he had three rushes for 31 yards. During Week 8 against the Seattle Seahawks, Watson posted his first career game with over 400 passing yards. He finished with 402 passing yards, four touchdowns, and three interceptions as the Texans lost by a score of 41–38. Watson threw 16 touchdowns in the month of October, setting the NFL record for most touchdown passes by a rookie in a calendar month. He was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Month and the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month for October.
On November 2, he suffered a torn ACL on a non-contact play during practice, prematurely ending his rookie season. In 7 games (6 starts) of his rookie year, Watson finished with 1,699 passing yards, 19 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions. He also rushed for 269 yards and 2 touchdowns. On November 8, Watson underwent successful surgery on his right knee to repair the ACL, and no further knee damage was reported.
|Cmp||Att||Pct||Yds||Y/A||TD||Int||Rtg||Att||Yds||Avg||TD||W/L (as starter)|
Watson is a Christian. 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, who partnered with Habitat for Humanity. In 2017, Watson donated his first NFL game check to three cafeteria employees affected by Hurricane Harvey who work at the Houston Texans' NRG Stadium. The total amount donated was around $27,000.
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