While Deshaun Watson was named to the Davey O’Brien Award watch list earlier today, there was significantly more substantive news regarding the star Clemson quarterback coming out of South Carolina the day before.
At his annual media golf outing, Dabo Swinney confirmed that Watson has been medically cleared to resume all football activities. In fact, the Tigers head coach said, he’s been a full-go since some point in May.
“He’s done everything. We’re as confident as you can possibly be in a guy,” Swinney said according to tigerbait.com. “He’s done everything and not missed anything. He’s been at all of the workouts and skills and drills. He’s an above and beyond guy, whatever you tell him he needs to do, he will do above and beyond what he needs to do and go above that. He looks great, great summer and excited to get back there.
“When we start in a couple of weeks, he’ll be leading the charge with no restrictions and he has been doing that and has not missed anything.”
Watson sustained a torn ACL during a late-November practice but still played in the regular-season finale against South Carolina, with Swinney acknowledging that the brace he wore essentially served as his ACL. After some initial thoughts had Watson delaying surgery until after the Tigers’ bowl game, wiser heads prevailed as the then-true freshman underwent the medical procedure on his knee in mid-December.
Swinney has raved about Watson’s rate of progress in rehab ever since, consistently trumpeting his DNA and the way he’s wired.
In his first season at the FBS level, Watson completed nearly 68 percent of his passes, with 14 touchdown passes vs. just two interceptions despite the fact that he dealt with not only the ACL issue but a shoulder issue and fractured bone in his hand.
In the four games that Watson started and finished upright, the Tigers were 4-0. If Watson had played just one snap in one additional game, even if he didn’t attempt a pass, his pass efficiency rating of 188.6 would’ve been the best in the country, ahead of Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota‘s 184.4. Additionally, his 10.7 yards per attempt was the best in the country for quarterbacks with at least 125 pass attempts.