Tigers offer 2014 quarterback from Georgia

by - Senior Writer -

DeShaun Watson DeShaun Watson
6-2, 170
Gainesville, GA

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, a 2014 quarterback recruit out of Gainesville, Ga., understands pressure.

He faced it all last season as a freshman at Gainesville High School, where he had to replace a proven winner in quarterback Blake Sims – who wound up at Alabama and might challenge for the starting job there this season – while still trying to lead his team back to the state playoffs.

All as a first-time starter on any level.

“Playing on the varsity was tough at first,” Watson told TigerNet Wednesday. “I never played on the junior varsity, and I backed up Blake as an 8th grader. I had to get used to the speed of the game, and I was trying to step into his shoes.

“And then, our first game was against Buford, and they are one of the top teams in the state of Georgia. It was crazy. But through the season, I got better and got used to the speed of the game. Plus, I knew my teammates had my back.”

Watson passed for over 2500 yards, rushed for over 700 yards and passed for 20 touchdowns while rushing for five more in leading Gainesville to a 10-2 record and that trip back to the state playoffs.

His superlative play didn’t go unnoticed, and after attending Dabo Swinney’s camp in mid-June, he got a call from Swinney, recruiting coordinator Jeff Scott and offensive coordinator Chad Morris.

“The offer from Clemson came in on June 15th,” the 6-3, 190-pounder dual threat quarterback said. “They all called me, and said that they officially wanted to offer me as a quarterback with a full ride to Clemson. It was exciting. I just went up there the day before, and I liked the campus and everything. I will always remember that moment when they offered.”

Watson said he learned a lot from Morris at the Clemson camp.

“It was a good camp,” he said. “He helped me out with my footwork, and I got to throw to a bunch of the top receivers from across the country. I really liked that. And then I got to do some work with a great quarterback like Chad Kelly Chad Kelly
6-3, 205
Buffalo, NY

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. It was a great experience. And Coach Morris – I talk to him once a week. I call him and we just talk about things. He told me to have fun while I am on the field, and he showed me a lot of the things I need to work on.”

And as a rising sophomore, at what point over the next three years would he want to make a decision?

“Right now, it’s just too early,” he said. “I have talked to my family and my coaches, and they have told me to go through the process and don’t commit early, because there are going to be a lot of other colleges coming in to offer. But they also said to keep the first offer you get at the top, and that is what I am going to do.

“I have been to Clemson a couple of times, and I really love it there. They run the same offense as my high school, and I want to go somewhere where they run the spread. Clemson is definitely at the top, but right now I am just looking around. By my junior year is when I want to commit.”

Watson also plays basketball, and said he has been to Clemson with his high school team for Clemson head basketball coach Brad Brownell’s camp.

“We went to Clemson for the Clemson basketball camp, and Coach Morris and Coach Scott came over to watch me play,” he said. “That meant a lot to me that they would come over and watch me play basketball. In basketball, I am hearing from schools like Georgia Tech and Clemson. I talked to Coach Brownell, and he said he was interested in me and would be checking in on me. He is real fun and easy to get along with.”

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