In the AAAAA state championship game against Ware County, quarterback Deshaun Watson (Gainesville, Ga./Gainesville) put the finishing touches on a season for the ages, throwing for 305 yards and accounting for five touchdowns to secure the first state championship in school history.
Several college coaches were on the sideline to see Watson’s performance, including representatives from Alabama, Georgia, Clemson, Vanderbilt, Ohio State, UNC, Tennessee and FSU. Knowing the Bulldogs’ offensive coordinator saw him perform well brought an added sense of encouragement.
“I saw Mike Bobo on the sidelines, and he waved at me,” Watson said. “It felt good to show them I am capable of playing at UGA or any school. I left my own team camp to go to Dawg Night last summer, because they said I would probably get an offer, and nothing really happened. My coaches told me they were not interested in me, so I guess I am not the type they want. All of the other SEC schools are recruiting me hard, and UGA is 45 minutes down the road. If they want to miss out on me that is fine, because wherever I go I plan to work my hardest to compete for a national championship.”
Watson added that an offer still would mean a lot, because of the tradition at quarterback at Georgia, but he noted that it probably would be too late. The ESPN Watch List selection has no shortage of others fighting for his services, even though he has been committed to Clemson for months.
“Clemson stands out obviously, because I am committed there, and Ohio State is giving them the biggest push for my commitment,” Watson said. “Auburn and LSU are two schools that are next. I would like to visit USC and Oregon if possible this summer.”
Other programs Watson would like to visit during the spring include Clemson, LSU, Ohio State, Auburn, Tennessee and FSU. His most recent offer came from LSU, and it is one that he says will not soon be forgotten.
“Every time I think about LSU I think about a championship-caliber team that competes for SEC championships, national championships and playing in big bowls every year,” Watson said. “Getting an offer from Les Miles and talking to him was a big accomplishment. I told him I am interested, and I plan to visit the program. Just thinking about all of the times I have seen him on TV and being able to talk to him on the phone is an experience I will always remember.”
Watson threw for 4,011 yards and 50 touchdowns this season. He also rushed for 1,430 yards and 24 touchdowns. The video game-like stats have resulted in one program comparing him to another elite quarterback from Georgia.
“Auburn is going to the spread again with Gus Malzahn, and they feel I can be another Cam Newton or potentially even better,” Watson said.
The Buckeyes are giving Watson a lot to think about, and it all starts with the head coach.
“I always wanted to meet Urban Meyer,” Watson said. “I was a big Gators fan when he was at Florida. With what he has done with quarterbacks in the spread and taking Ohio State to an undefeated season. I told them I plan to come spend a couple days up there this summer. Seeing Braxton Miller this year, Tim Tebow before and knowing that under Meyer I have a chance to compete for a Heisman means a lot.”
For now, Watson remains committed to Clemson, and the Tigers’ staff is hoping to get him in classes as soon as possible.
“Clemson really wants me to enroll early and compete for playing time as a freshman,” Watson said. “Everyone on their staff says once I get there they will have a great shot at a national championship.”