2015 Player Projection: Watson's season depends on his health


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If he's healthy, Watson should be one of the best players in the nation this season
If he's healthy, Watson should be one of the best players in the nation this season

Despite being just eight months removed from ACL surgery, the expectations for Clemson quarterback Deshaun WatsonDeshaun Watson
So. Quarterback
#4 6-2, 205
Gainesville, GA

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are through the roof in 2015. Watson started just five games last year after suffering a couple of freak injuries – a broken finger and a torn ACL – but the talented sophomore will get his chance to show the college football world what he is capable of in 2015.

Deshaun Watson

SIZE: 6-2, 205
CLASS/ELIGIBILITY: Sophomore
HOMETOWN: Gainesville, GA
SCHOOL: Gainesville

CAREER STATS: Watson played in eight games as a true freshman (starting five) and completed 93-of-137 passes for 1,466 yards and 14 touchdowns against only two interceptions. He carried the ball 63 times for 200 yards and five scores.

IN HIGH SCHOOL: Rated as the No. 3 player in the nation by Tom Lemming ... No. 16 player and No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the nation by ESPN ... No. 31 player and No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the nation and No. 2 player in Georgia by Rivals.com ... No. 41 player and No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the nation and No. 4 player in Georgia by 247Sports.com ... No. 84 player and No. 3 dual-threat quarterback in the nation by Scout.com ... U.S. Army All-American Game selection ... Under Armour All-American Game selection ... first-team All-American by Parade and second-team All-American by USA Today ... four-year starter at Gainesville High School ... set state career records for total offense yards (17,134) and total touchdowns (218) ... set the state career records for passing touchdowns and total offense yards by the end of his junior season ... had 13,077 passing yards and 155 touchdowns along with 4,057 rushing yards and 63 touchdowns in his career ... state player-of-the-year as a sophomore, junior and senior ... Gatorade Player-of-the-Year in Georgia as a senior ... had 4,431 passing yards and 57 touchdowns against only five interceptions along with 1,057 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior ... had 5,700 total offense yards and 64 touchdowns, including 4,024 passing yards and 50 touchdowns, as a junior ... led his team to its first state title in over 100 years; he had 400 total yards and five touchdowns in a 49-13 win over Ware County High School in the Georgia Dome; he had 1,988 total yards and 27 touchdowns in five playoff games ... had over 3,200 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards as a sophomore ... had 2,088 passing yards and 17 touchdowns along with 569 rushing yards and five touchdowns in leading his team to a 10-2 record as a freshman ... played basketball as a junior ... coached by Bruce Miller at Gainesville High School ... recruited by Chad MorrisChad Morris
Offensive Coordinator / QBs
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.

2014 RECAP: Watson was 93-137 passing for 1,466 yards and 14 touchdowns against only two interceptions in 330 snaps over eight games (five starts) ... completed 67.9 percent of his passes and had a 188.6 pass efficiency rating ... had 200 yards and five touchdowns on 63 carries ... first in school history in passing efficiency, first in yards per passing attempt (10.70), first in total offense yards per play (8.3), second in completion percentage and tied for 10th in passing touchdowns ... first in school history in passing efficiency and completion percentage by a freshman ... first in school history in passing yards, passing touchdowns and total offense by a first-year freshman.

Watson was the subject of speculation all through fall camp, but senior Cole StoudtCole Stoudt
Quarterback (2011 - 2014)
#18 6-4, 225
Dublin, OH

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was named the starter for the season opener at Georgia. However, Watson played and was 2-4 passing for 59 yards and one touchdown against no interceptions against the Bulldogs on Aug. 30; it was his first career game ... was 8-9 passing for 154 yards and three touchdowns against no interceptions along with 20 yards on five carries against SC State on Sept. 6 ... was 19-28 passing for 266 yards along with 30 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries at No. 1 Florida State on Sept. 20; named ACC Rookie-of-the-Week; named team offensive player-of-the-game ... was 27-36 passing for 435 yards and a school-record six touchdowns along with 28 rushing yards against North Carolina on Sept. 27; it was his first career start; named national co-performer-of-the-week and national co-quarterback-of-the-week by CFPA; named Davey O’Brien Quarterback-of-the-Week; named Manning Award Quarterback-of-the-Week; named national freshman-of-the-week by CBS Sports; named national true-freshman-of-the-week by 247Sports.com; named ACC Co-Offensive Back-of-the-Week and ACC Rookie-of-the-Week; named team offensive player-of-the-game ... was 17-29 passing for 267 yards and two touchdowns against no interceptions along with a game-high 62 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries against NC State on Oct. 4; named ACC Offensive Back-of-the-Week and ACC Rookie-of-the-Week; named ACC player-of-the-week by Athlon ... suffered a broken hand in the first quarter against Louisville on Oct. 11 and missed the next three games ... was 4-6 passing for 21 yards along with 40 yards on seven carries before leaving the game with an LCL injury in the first quarter at No. 23 Georgia Tech on Nov. 15 ... was 14-19 passing for 269 yards and two touchdowns against no interceptions along with 13 yards and two touchdowns on five carries against South Carolina on Nov. 29; named team co-offensive player-of-the-game ... enrolled in January.

Watson talks about his rehab during spring practice:

2015 EXPECTATIONS: Watson wasn’t able to participate in any live drills during spring practice as he recovers from the torn ACL, but according to head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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Watson was mentally taking every rep and an active leader from the sidelines.

The media hasn’t seen Watson actually practice since the end of spring practice, but he was supposed to be cleared for full participation by the beginning of the second summer session, which started a couple of weeks ago. If his rehab his still on schedule, Watson could be primed for a breakout season.

We did see Watson during Swinney’s high school campus in June, and he not only looked healthy, he was visibly bigger and stronger. Recent photos and videos from the Elite 11 on the West Coast have confirmed that Watson should be ready to go when fall camp starts. If he stays healthy, the sky is the limit. Watson isn’t the only weapon for offensive coordinators Jeff ScottJeff Scott
Co-Offensive Coordinator / WR
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and Tony ElliottTony Elliott
Co-OC / Running Backs
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– veterans like Wayne GallmanWayne Gallman
RS So. Running Back
#9 6-1, 205
Loganville, GA

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, Zac BrooksZac Brooks
Running Back (2012 - 2015)
#24 6-0, 200
Jonesboro, AR

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, Artavis ScottArtavis Scott
So. Wide Receiver
#3 5-10, 190
Oldsmar, FL

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, Charone PeakeCharone Peake
Gr. Wide Receiver
#19 6-2, 205
Moore, SC

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, Mike WilliamsMike Williams
Jr. Wide Receiver
#7 6-4, 210
Vance, SC

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and newcomers like Deon CainDeon Cain
Fr. Wide Receiver
# 6-1, 190
Tampa, FL

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and Ray-Ray McCloudRay-Ray McCloud
Fr. Wide Receiver
# 5-9, 175
Land O' Lakes, FL

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should open the whole field. Clemson’s offense could be scary good.

A GOOD SEASON FOR WATSON WOULD BE… Starting 13 or more games. No one questions Watson’s athletic ability or his ability to complete passes or pick up the crucial first down. The only question remaining for the potential Heisman candidate is can he stay healthy and take a season’s worth of bumps and bruises. If so, Watson will complete enough passes and make plenty of SportsCenter worthy plays while potentially leading Clemson into the ACC Championship Game and the College Football Playoff picture.

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