Coach speak: Deshaun Watson

GAINESVILLE, Ga. - Bruce Miller has coached several highly recruited prospects during his tenure at Gainesville High School.

Four-star wide receiver Tai-ler Jones signed with Notre Dame in 2010.

That same year, Blake Sims, who was also rated as a four-star wide receiver, inked with Alabama as a quarterback.

A.J. Johnson, a four-star linebacker, was next in 2011. He wound up at Tennessee.

All three were heavily recruited. But none reached the level that Deshaun Watson has had to deal with over the last five months and will continue to deal with well into December.

"After the game he had in the state championship, it just exploded," Miller told CUTigers on Tuesday morning, during an ON LOCATION interview at Gainesville High School.

Outside of throwing for 4,000 yards, rushing for another 1,000 and winning a state title last season, Watson hasn't gone out of his way to seek the attention from college recruiters.

The longtime Clemson commitment has been just that -- committed.

"It has just been one thing after another. There are some parts of it that I'm sure he enjoys," Miller said. "And there are some parts of it -- he just wants to play ball."

Plenty of folks believe that he can. Clemson formed the line when Watson was just a rising sophomore. After dazzling Chad Morris during the Dabo Swinney Football Camp in June of 2011, the Tigers offered.

Morris, who's entering his fourth season as a college assistant, has a knack for spotting quarterback talent before others. During his only year as the offensive coordinator at Tulsa, he was first to offer Johnny Manziel, last season's Heisman Trophy winner.

Others have taken notice of Watson's potential. LSU, Alabama, Auburn and Ohio State are among the many that have offered. Gainesville's run to the Georgia Dome certainly helped.

"He got so hot in the playoffs. He was hot as a firecracker. The bigger the game, the better he played," Miller said.

Watson seems to take everything that comes with it in stride.

"He's handled it great," Miller said. "I don't know I could have handled it that way. It's been one thing after another. Just because he's committed, that doesn't mean anybody is going to back off -- some have backed off."

Urban Meyer, Nick Saban and Les Miles continue to pursue. But there are two other coaches lead the rest of the pack.

"As long as coach Morris and coach Swinney are [at Clemson], I don't see him coming off of [the commitment]," Miller said. "And he's not going there because of them. I heard him tell somebody, I've been recruited because I'm going to Clemson. I'm not going for a particular coach. I'm going because I like what Clemson has to offer.

"He's stayed pretty strong. I don't know. If I was 18 years old, I don't know if I could be as strong as he is."

It hasn't been easy for Watson.

"The one thing I think that's driven him crazy, he just doesn't want to tell anybody no. I'm doing that," Miller said. "I said, ‘Look, we just can't keep this up.' When they're on our campus, we'll be polite to them, nice to them. But let's not promise anybody you're coming to visit.' And we don't.

"Because I said, ‘You stayed so strong behind your commitment, why would you go visit some place?' He hasn't. I want him to do what's right for him."

Miller added, "I don't care where he goes, as long as he's happy." Top Stories