When Alabama defeated Clemson to win the national title in January, the Tide and coach Nick Saban cemented their place as one of, if not the best college programs in the country. But the game also proved something for the Tigers, quarterback Deshaun Watson is one of the best players in the country.
Watson definitely caught the eye of Saban during their game, the QB threw for over 400 yards and four touchdowns while racking up 73 yards on the ground. While at ESPN on Tuesday, Saban showered Watson in praise, likening the star to the reigning NFL MVP Cam Newton.
"That guy [Watson] is the most significantly dominant player that we've played against since Cam Newton in 2010," Saban said on College Football Live. In the only game Saban faced Newton, Newton led Auburn to a victory after trailing 24-7 at half.
Saban said Clemson will be competitive and potentially compete for a title, especially with Watson at the helm. This was in reaction to the coach seeing his Tide as the favorite according to the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.
Watson had a stellar season a year ago, accumulating 5,214 all-purpose yards, with over 4,000 through the air and more than a 1,000 yards on the ground. The terrific output placed Watson third in Heisman voting, behind Stanford's Christian McCaffrey and Alabama's Derrick Henry. Watson will be a front runner this year, likely contending with McCaffrey and LSU's Leonard Fournette.
If Watson chooses to go pro after this season, the Tiger may draw more comparisons from Newton, potentially becoming the number one overall pick like Newton was in 2011. And while Watson lacks the size of Newton, he has the true dual threat ability just like the Panthers QB, which makes him dangerous in college and as Newton has showed, potentially more dangerous at the pro level.