Catching up with Watson

Deshaun Watson

ATLANTA - After three years of quarterbacking Gainesville High School, Deshaun Watson led the Red Elephants to their first-ever state title.

QB Deshaun Watson Profile

Watson, who's been committed to Clemson since signing day 2012, led Gainesville to a 49-13 win over Ware County last month in the Georgia Class AAAAA championship game.

"When I first won it, I was a lot of words. I was very excited for my community, myself, my family. Being the first quarterback to win that -- they've been there six times before and never won it -- it was exciting," Watson told CUTigers in the days before the third annual Georgia Junior Bowl.

As a junior, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound signal caller completed 305 of 435 passes for 4,024 yards with 50 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He also rushed for 1,441 yards.

In the Georgia Dome during the title game, Watson completed 27 of 36 passes for 317 yards and carried 13 times for 85 yards.

"I felt like one of those guys out there on Saturdays or Sundays, playing in a big game," Watson said. "Seeing the lights and the fans up there, it just got me excited, pumped and ready to play."

With one more season of high school ball on the docket, Watson's commitment remains with Clemson, but other schools are still under consideration.

Auburn, Tennessee, Ohio State and Oregon continue to make a strong push.

"They want me to come in. every single one of those schools is looking for me to graduate early and be ready to start as a freshman," Watson said. "That's a big step for me, trying to get prepared for that and choosing the right school for me."

With his sites set on playing in a spread system in college, the hurry-up, no-huddle offense that Chad Morris has in place at Clemson is very appealing.

"Just the way he scores and puts up points on everyone, the yards that he puts up and different things he does," Watson said. "It's a similar offense we run at Gainesville High School."

Morris also serves as Watson's primary recruiter to Clemson. And though Watson continues to weigh his options, he said that doesn't bother Morris.

"[Morris] told me, once I committed, I was going to be a big-time quarterback, one of the top ones in the nation. All the top schools in the world is going to have to come get me," Watson said. "I just have to stay strong and pray about this commitment and everything I do.

"He wants me to go out there and look at other places, make sure I chose the right place for myself."

Morris was the first college coach to recognize the talent that's drawn interest from across the country. Watson picked up that Clemson offer last summer, before the beginning of his sophomore season.

"I was 15-years-old sitting in the office with him and coach [Dabo] Swinney saying that I'm going to be their next big-time quarterback, and they're not going to get one in 2013," Watson said. "That meant a lot to me, so they're really looking forward to me -- if I stay with them -- coming in as a freshman and starting."

As Watson continues through the process, he'll compare other schools to the one that first caught his heart.

"If it's better than Clemson, I'll have to put it up there with Clemson. If it's not, I'll just have to let it be, tell them I'm not interested anymore," he said.

Auburn, Tennessee, LSU, Ohio State, USC and Oregon are the suitors that Watson would like to visit over the next several months.

"I'll have my top five by the end of the summer, [and] then take my five official visits," he said.

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