Early last year, Dabo Swinney challenged the Clemson faithful to show up for what was “going to be the last time to see Deshaun Watson, most likely, in a spring game.” In early November, the junior quarterback was honored with the rest of the outgoing Tigers on Senior Day.
In the very early morning hours Tuesday, Watson made it officially official.
Following one of the greatest title games in history, and acknowledging “it’s my time to go,” Watson confirmed that he will indeed be leaving Clemson and making himself available for the 2017 NFL draft. Not only will Watson be leaving as a national champion and one of the most prolific Tigers ever, but he’ll be doing so as a college graduate as well.
“It was a tough decision,” Watson said. “You know, Clemson is a special place. I’ve enjoyed every single moment since I came in, in January of 2014. Three years kind of flew by. But I think it’s my time to go, just kind of end it with a bang, and I felt like Coach Swinney knew my time was up.
“I’ve enjoyed, like I said, the three years, and I just wanted to sign my name and end it with an exclamation point, and I think I did that. Moments like this I’ll never forget. Clemson was the best three years of my life, and credit me as the person I am today. Through my faith, as a citizen, as a football player, as a student, I’ve learned so much, and it’s just been special.”
After doing so in a losing effort a year ago, Watson, named this game’s offensive MVP off 463 yards of offense and four total touchdowns, also fulfilled a vow he made nearly five years ago with the signature win over Alabama.
If I get a chance to play in a national championship game, Imma go ham.
— Deshaun Watson (@DeshaunWatson4) February 5, 2012
Watson, along with the recently-declared Mitch Trubisky of North Carolina and Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer, who declared nearly a month ago, is expected to be one of the first three quarterbacks taken in the next NFL draft.