WATCH: Watson at Fiesta Bowl Media Day

by - Assoc. Editor -

Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson spoke to the media on Thursday morning to preview the upcoming 2016 Fiesta Bowl on Saturday night.

DESHAUN WATSON: ... being a Gator fan it was one of those things I love how he did things and they're just killing it, killing college football, and just want to be part of the team.

Q. He went to Ohio State. They tried to (indiscernible) committed to Clemson. Would you give much consideration to Ohio State?

DESHAUN WATSON: I did. I committed to Clemson as a sophomore. But still was kind of open. No, Ohio State was my second choice if I didn't come to Clemson.

But they tried hard. But I felt, just went with my gut feeling and felt comfortable with my decision. And they respected that. And we just kind of went our own ways.

Q. (Indiscernible)?

DESHAUN WATSON: Yeah, I told him. And he kind of knew that, too, just because I wouldn't switch or change. And I wanted to come visit. But I was playing basketball also. So at the time it wasn't right. I just felt comfortable at Clemson and he respected it.

Q. Playing Ohio State, given how close --

DESHAUN WATSON: It's cool. It's cool just to be able to play a team like this and the brand that Ohio State carries. So it's a big game for us, big game for them and it's going to be an exciting matchup.

Q. With what you've accomplished, a lot of people -- your coach, Kirk Herbstreit, they're all saying you're the best player in the country. Do you feel like Saturday, still more to prove still that you have to convince people of?

DESHAUN WATSON: There's always things that you gotta continue to improve on and prove people wrong. Regardless of the situation or who you are, you're going to have haters, you're going to have people that like you. So that's another opportunity for me to go out there and to show that I'm capable of playing on the big stage and playing well and helping my team win.

And God put me in this position for a reason to play in big games like this. So it's going to be fun and just go out there and show what I've got, show what I'm capable of doing at this stage.

Q. Walking off that field last year, I think that was your only loss as a starter. How much have you thought about that moment, your back to the tunnel and all that stuff? How much will you think about that Saturday?

DESHAUN WATSON: Not so much Saturday. Throughout the workouts of offseason and spring, it's a big motivation for us to get back to that point. But not so much during the season and this weekend. It's a whole new opportunity for us. We've got to go out there and perform and perform well.

Q. How different are you as a player from that game against Alabama?

DESHAUN WATSON: How do I feel?

Q. How different are you as a player?

DESHAUN WATSON: A lot more mature. A lot more detailed and the position, a better leader, better teammate, just overall better player. Just striving to be great each and every week.

Q. (Indiscernible)?

DESHAUN WATSON: Just Chad Morris have a huge impact on my life. I still talk to him to this day. He's like a father figure for me and a coach still. While he's at SMU, I can call and talk to him whenever I want and he's going to answer and reply and be there for me.

And just being able to -- what he did at this university to get this kicked off and this offense and take it to another level has been special.

Clemson University, all the fans, all the players, teammates, coaches, we all respect Coach Morris, and he knows that and he's always welcome to come back to Clemson and hang out with us and things like that.

He's just a special guy, special family and it's like I'm a part of that family also.

Q. What's this trip been like? Has it felt different?

DESHAUN WATSON: Because it's a bowl game, last year it was just a quick trip, business trip. Here for one day and a day and a half. And just kind of getting ready for the game and heading out the next morning.

This game, just being able to see the city, have some downtime and just enjoy the Fiesta Bowl. It's a privilege and honor to be here and we've just been enjoying it and it's just a great opportunity for us to see something different and experience something.

Q. When you look at their secondary on film, is there anything that kind of sticks out to you in terms of what they bring to the table?

DESHAUN WATSON: Group of guys that play well and don't have a lot of (indiscernible), and guys that understand what they're doing.

Q. They talked a lot about your wide receiving corps and how capable it is. What's the connection like even (indiscernible)?

DESHAUN WATSON: It's great. Those guys can step in at any time and be an impact to the game. And that's just -- the coaches we have here with all the skill guys, a lot of those guys, no matter who is out there on the field will be an impact and be able to make a play. So it's just special. It's an honor and privilege to be able to have those guys as my targets. And I just get them the ball and make them make plays.

Q. Are you excited about (indiscernible) possibly not only the secondary but possibly two of the best secondaries between them and Alabama?

DESHAUN WATSON: Yeah, it's always good to be able to play against the best of the best, and that's what you play football for is playing against the best and competing with the top guys and being able to just do great things and show what you're about.

Q. Is there a little extra motivation for this game considering what happened here last week?

DESHAUN WATSON: No. I mean, still the same mentality. Still play, treat it like a championship game because it is. And nothing changes because of last year.

Last year is last year, and this is a new opportunity for us.

Q. (Indiscernible) is that going to serve as a rallying point for you guys in terms of we've got to refocus on the task at hand?

DESHAUN WATSON: Of course. I mean, just a little adversity hit, something that we wasn't really expecting. But it happens from time to time. And it's hard to go undefeated two years in a row. But just an opportunity for us to regroup and make sure that we're staying on our Ps and Qs and looking at each other in the mirror and making sure that we're handling our business the right way.

Q. The other guy was mentioning last year's game. You certainly played a terrific game. How have you grown and changed since then?

DESHAUN WATSON: Just became just a complete quarterback and player. I've grown physically, mentally and just all around just being a team leader making everybody else around me better, just becoming a smarter player as the game grows. And just it's a whole different year, so I actually have a lot more experience, too.

Q. Do you feel more like a leader and more confident? You just seem to have an elevated position?

DESHAUN WATSON: Yeah, I feel like I can just impact the players around me, make everyone else around me better. That's my job, lead this team and make sure everyone is doing their job to the fullest and making sure that we just focus on that task.

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