Watson not losing focus despite the draft or Boulware's smack talk
|Saturday, April 15, 2017, 8:01 AM- -|
In thirteen days, former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson and his family will head to Philadelphia for the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, and Watson said earlier this week he’s ready for the challenges that lie ahead.
And, he’s ready for former teammate Ben Boulware.
In an exclusive interview with Aaron Cheslock of Fox Carolina, Watson looked back at his Clemson career and ahead to the NFL. That includes the draft, and Watson has undergone intense scrutiny from draft gurus who try to find fault with his game.
“Yeah, I think so. They try to look at outside things and poke holes and try to find something they really can't find,” Watson said. “I haven't played in the NFL, just in college football, but you have to really appreciate the things we've done in past history and the previous games and that kind of takes care of itself.”
However, Watson hasn’t let the criticism, draft projections or even praise make him lose focus.
"Don't make it bigger than what it is," Watson said. "Control what you can control, and that's just being the best player you can be while staying out of trouble... Let everything fall into place and take care of itself. No one from what I've been watching has had a perfect mock draft, so all that stuff is kind of irrelevant. So I just kind of wait for that day and wait for your name to be called.”
He then had a message for NFL general managers and scouts.
"I'm a winner, a leader, a dynamic leader, and a guy that loves football," Watson said. "Someone that's going to come in and win games, and help the team out and help the franchise out and put in the work."
Watson was asked if he had one memory from his time at Clemson that stood out, and he mentioned his graduation.
"To walk across the stage and to see my mom smile," Watson said. "That was the biggest moment of my whole college experience. Getting that degree and being the first one in my family to do it."
On the field, there were three memories that stand out in his mind.
“There are a couple of those. Of course, the last one was pretty cool because it was the national championship,” Watson said of his pass to Hunter Renfrow with one second remaining that beat Alabama. “The one where I jumped over the guy against NC State my freshman year. But if I had to pick, it would be the first touchdown of my career down in Athens, Georgia, to Charone Peake. I think that was the coolest one because I was fresh and really didn't know what was going on. But I went in there and kind of contributed to the team and helped the team out.”
Boulware, the former Tiger linebacker and spiritual leader of Clemson’s defense, has made it known he can’t wait to tackle Watson in the NFL. Boulware told Dan Patrick back in January that hitting Watson is something he is looking forward to.
"If I had hit Deshaun in practice Coach (Dabo) Swinney would have pulled my scholarship," Boulware said. "One time I came on a blitz and kind of swiped at the ball and hurt his finger, and Coach Swinney chewed my tail. I've been waiting on that (to hit Watson) for four years now. If I get the opportunity to suplex him, I promise you I will do it. And then I will give him a big hug afterward and a kiss on the cheek because I love him. But I've had to wait four years to hit him, and if I get that opportunity I won't pass it up."
Watson laughed and said he thinks he will be able to shake off Boulware’s tackle attempt like he did on the practice fields at Clemson.
“Of course, I used to do it all the time in practice so in game time I think it will be even better,” Watson said with a smile. “It will be pretty cool to go up against some guys that were on the same team and compete and then afterward get together. I think Clemson guys always take a picture after the game so that will be pretty cool.”