Watson set for first start

Clemson freshman quarterback Deshaun Watson's calm approach to things will surely get tested against North Carolina tonight.

After all, it's not every day you make your first college start.

Watson played most of the game last week against No. 1 Florida State, nearly leading the Tigers (1-2, 0-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) to a victory over the top-ranked Seminoles before falling 23-17 in overtime. Watson performance of 266 yards passing and a short touchdown run earned him ACC rookie of the week honors and the chance to start against the Tar Heels (2-1, 0-0).

Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris thought Watson excelled in a difficult environment, staying poised and in control throughout his time behind center.

"It's just a shame that we didn't come out there without a win, because that would've been unbelievable," Morris said. "His performance was unbelievable as it was. We're excited about where we're going with him."

Watson acknowledged he'll feel some nervousness at getting his first chance to lead Clemson in packed Death Valley. But he said he'd been planning for the moment

"You have to start off fast. The energy and the team are going to feed off you, the starting quarterback, so you have to start off fast and execute the plays," he said.

Morris said Watson has kept a steady, level head about him since enrolling last January. He's worked hard, learned from more experienced Clemson quarterbacks like senior Cole Stoudt and patiently waited until his coaches thought him prepared for a bigger role on the offense.

Most Clemson fans didn't need to wait that long, eagerly calling for more Watson since his prep days at Gainesville High in Georgia where he set state marks with 17,134 yards of offense and 218 touchdowns. Watson said he's prepared to help Clemson win in all situations, whether he's on the field first or loss.

"You always have to be ready for that time because you never know what's going to happen," he said.


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