Enjoy quarterback Deshaun Watson next season, Clemson fans. It may be your last chance.
According to a Wednesday report by the Associated Press (via FoxSports.com), the quarterback, who will be a junior during the 2016 campaign, said “he could leave a season early next year if circumstances are right.”
Watson also stated he has always dreamed of the NFL and that the opportunity to get there is one reason he elected to attend Clemson. The Associated Press noted, “Watson said one of his goals is to have his college degree before he leaves. He is on track to graduate in December.”
CBS Sports rated Watson as the No. 1 quarterback on its list of 2018 prospects, and it is not much of a stretch to assume the Clemson signal-caller would be No. 1 if he does elect to enter the 2017 NFL draft based on his production during his sophomore campaign.
He threw for 4,104 yards and 35 touchdowns and added 1,105 yards and 12 more touchdowns on the ground as a Heisman Trophy finalist. He also led the Tigers to the national championship game, where they lost a 45-40 heartbreaker to Alabama. The loss was far from his fault, considering he torched the fabled Crimson Tide defense for 405 passing yards, 73 rushing yards and four touchdown passes.
He made history in the process, per Bleacher Report Insights:
Deshaun Watson is the first player in FBS history with at least 4,000 pass yards and 1,000 rush yards in a season. pic.twitter.com/JjsvN1NiA6— B/R Insights (@BR_Insights) January 12, 2016
Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com ranked Clemson as the No. 1 team in his “way-too-early Top 25,” largely because Watson is returning under center. What’s more, Odds Shark recently listed Watson as its favorite to win next season’s Heisman Trophy.
Watson has the talent to take home college football’s most prestigious award and lead his Tigers to the national title during the 2016 campaign all while earning his degree. If he does all that, NFL teams will certainly take note.
To hear Watson tell it, that has been the plan all along.