Catching up with Deshaun Watson

Longtime Clemson commitment Deshaun Watson was named the Georgia Gatorade Player of the Year on Thursday.

QB Deshaun Watson Profile

The No. 5 quarterback in the country, according to Scout.com, Watson has completed 260 of 375 passes for 4,246 yards with 56 touchdowns and five interceptions. He's also rushed 124 times for 1,016 yards and 13 touchdowns.

On Friday night, he'll lead Gainesville [12-1] into the Georgia AAAAA semi-finals against Tucker [14-0]. A win would put the Red Elephants into the championship game for a shot at their second-straight state title.

Next month, he's set to enroll at Clemson and compete for the starting quarterback position vacated by Tajh Boyd.

On Thursday afternoon, he spoke with CUTigers. The following is a transcript of that interview:

Including the All-American game, you have at least two games left in your high school career. Can you believe it's almost over?
Watson: It's happened fast. I remember my first day stepping on the Gainesville campus and practicing with the varsity group. Now, it's coming down to my last couple of games. It's a bittersweet feeling, but it's my time to move on. I'm happy with my career that I've made in Gainesville.

What will you remember the most about your career? That state title run from last season?
Watson: Yeah, just the state, but all of my friends, having fun with those guys during the week of practice, the Friday night lights, the fans, the atmosphere, just high school football. I know college football is crazy, too. But it's something different about the Friday night lights. Just travelling, the big cross-town rivalries and stuff like that. That's one thing that I'm going to miss.

At what point did you being to realize that you're career wasn't going to be just that of an average high school quarterback?
Watson: I knew, my freshmen year, my coaches told me that if I keep working I'll go to big things. But to just stay humble and just make sure that I stay out of trouble, I could go somewhere big. After my freshman year, I thought I did pretty decent, but I knew I could get better. My sophomore season, the stats got up and the offers started rolling in. That's when I knew that I could make something happen, football can pay for my college degree, so that's when I started knowing that I could go to the next level with it.

Though yours has been kind of unique because of your early commitment, what are you overall impressions of the recruiting process?
Watson: My recruiting isn't like some of these other guys, recruits going all over the country to see places. It's been pretty cool, just to meet the guys that I've met, the coaches, the coaching staffs, some of the players from different teams.

"I've been real loyal to Clemson. That's the school that fits. I really stuck with it."

I've been real loyal to Clemson. That's the school that fits. I really stuck with it. I knew a long time ago that was probably the place I needed to be, not just from a football standpoint, but the community and the way I've been brought up in my household and around the town.

What's the most challenging part of being a high-profile recruit?
Watson: Really, just staying humble and not getting a big head. That's the real hard part. But that's been pretty easy, just because of the way my mom raised me. I never had the big head. I always root for other people before I root for myself. So that's probably the hardest part. Just staying in control and staying focused on the little things, not worrying about the big things and getting ahead of yourself. I've done very well with that during my career. That's just something I've always been taught when I was growing up, how to handle.

How about your favorite part?
Watson: Meeting the guys that I've met, the connections and being able to go around the country and see different things. I've also been on TV shows and stuff like that, stuff I've always dreamed of while watching other guys like Cam Newton or Jameis Winston, just seeing those guys go through the things I wish I would go through, now I got the chance to do it. So that's been pretty good.

Is there anything that you think should be changed to recruiting, rules anything that would make it better for the prospect?
Watson: For me, not just for me, but for everyone -- with the media, guys going on random visits [and] not telling anyone. They say it's a secret visit, then making that recruit look bad. For example, for me, when I visited Auburn -- I went down to just to go. It was my business, so I didn't have to tell anyone where I was going. So letting the guys just breath a little bit more.


Watson has completed 260 of 375 passes for 4,246 yards with 56 touchdowns and five interceptions. (Scout.com)
What's your advice to any quarterback who will be in your shoes in the future?
Watson: Just keep working. Enjoy your high school career. Make sure you find a place that's good for you. Don't commit to a coach, commit to a university. Just try to interact with all the guys you can and meet everyone you can, because the connections and the people that you meet is very great and something that you're not going to forget about, and just be focused and stay humble.

A lot has been made over recruits being able to sign the financial aid agreements. As a recruit, what are the benefits of being able to do that?
Watson: Just being able to talk to the coaches and able to talk and to get into more depth. Sometimes, you can just call them once a week. Instead of calling, you can just text each other all day and just get to know each other very well, talk about different things, instead of just talking about certain things in a 10-minute conversation on the phone. That's the big thing, communicating with the coaches all the time.

Are there any drawbacks to it?
Watson: No, nothing really.

Were you aware that Dabo talked about you with reporters a couple of weeks ago during his press conference?
Watson: I'd seen in on Twitter, but I didn't really look anything into it. I didn't really hear anything too much about it.

Is it strange to you that went on?
Watson: When I first saw it, I didn't know that they could do it. I was kind of worried, kind of like, did I do something wrong? Did he do something wrong? After a while, they told me they could do that now. So that was pretty cool to hear from him and Tajh Boyd.

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