Deshaun Watson: A favored son comes home hoping to make an impact on lives


by - Senior Writer -
Sean Pollard gives instruction to a young camper
Sean Pollard gives instruction to a young camper

CLEMSON – Deshaun Watson jerseys were everywhere you looked Saturday inside Clemson’s indoor practice facility. Moms were wearing Watson’s Houston Texans jersey, kids were wearing Watson’s Clemson jersey and dads were wearing the kind of smiles usually reserved for heroes.

A favored son had come home.

Approximately 450 children filled the team’s indoor and outdoor practice facilities Saturday for the Deshaun Watson Pro Camp.

“It’s amazing,” Watson said. “To see all the kids come out and all the parents that all want to be here with me, it’s a blessing and gives me so much joy that Clemson is still behind me and supporting me and it’s cool to try and (help) each one of these kids as I can.”

Watson said things haven’t changed that much in Clemson, saying that while many in the country view Clemson as one of the sports’ newest powerhouses, he doesn’t see it that way.

“It’s a powerhouse,” he said. “I feel even when I was a freshman it was still a powerhouse. There were just some things we had to clean up and little details to lock in on and coach (Dabo) Swinney got it to where he always wanted it to be. As a freshman, that was the reason I came in, because the program was going north and it’s still going north, so each and every year has gotten better.”

Watson started as a freshman and led the Tigers to a National Championship in his junior season. Trevor Lawrence started as a freshman this past season and led Clemson to another National Championship. What does Watson see ahead for Lawrence?

“He’ll just continue to improve (if he doesn’t) get comfortable, which he won’t,” Watson said. “He’s the type of guy who loves to work, loves to grind, and feels like he can always improve. And coach Swinney is going to make sure he’s going to continue to improve because that’s the same thing he did with me. I was always working at it so he’s going to be just fine keeping the right mindset and focus.”

Despite all of the success Watson and the Tigers have had, he wanted to talk about the kids and said he hopes he can touch lives.

“When I was a young kid I lived in Atlanta so I went to all the Falcons camps and those NFL players inspired me just by giving me a high-five or throwing the football to me,” Watson said. “It gave me joy and motivation to where that’s what I wanted to be when I grew up. So with the opportunity I have to be able to come back and do the same thing, if I can at least (affect) even one kid out of 450, I’m going to at least try to give them motivation to fulfill their dreams.

“Anytime you’re giving back, but especially to the young kids, the next generation, that’s where it matters, where it’s so big and where so much is going on,” Watson said. “If you can (affect) the next generation that’s coming up behind you to try to improve their game, their life in general, it’s all about love and that’s what you want to do.”

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