Watson becomes Clemson’s first Heisman Trophy finalist

clemfoot-4Clemson sophomore quarterback Deshaun  Watson has been named one of three finalists for the 2015 Heisman Trophy. The announcement was made on Monday evening.  Watson will be joined Saturday night’s ceremony in New York by Derrick Henry of Alabama and Christian McCaffrey of Stanford.

“This means a lot because I have come a long way from last year,” Watson said. “A year ago on December 12, I was recovering from surgery.  I remember watching a story about Adrian Peterson and how he suffered a torn ACL (December 2011)  but came back to become the MVP of the NFL that next year.  That inspired me to work hard on my rehab.”

Watson is Clemson’s first Heisman Finalist. Steve Fuller finished sixth in the 1978 voting and C.J. Spiller was sixth in the 2009 voting, but neither received an invitation to New York. Those are the only Clemson players to finish in the top 10 of the Heisman voting since the award began in 1935.

“It has been a dream of mine to bring my mom to New York and be a Heisman finalist. We have never been to New York,” Watson said. “I am honored to be the first Heisman finalist  from Clemson. I plan to represent our team and Clemson University and the Clemson family this weekend.”

The Heisman Trophy recipient will be announced from the PlayStation Theatre in New York City on ESPN on Saturday during a program that will begin at 8 p.m.

Watson has quarterbacked Clemson to a perfect 13-0 record and No. 1 national ranking in the College Football Playoff poll, the AP Poll and the USA Today rankings. Clemson was ranked No. 1 in all six of the College Football Playoff polls. Clemson has three wins over teams in the top 10 of the College Football Playoff rankings (Notre Dame, Florida State and North Carolina), the only team in the country that can make that statement.

The native of Gainesville, Ga. has completed 287 of 413 passes for 3,512 yards and 30 touchdowns.  Additionally he has 887 yards rushing in 163 attempts and has 11 rushing touchdowns. He is the only player in the nation with at least 800 yards rushing and 3,500 yards passing.  In fact he is the first player to do it since 2012 (Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M).

Watson has accounted for 41 touchdowns rushing and passing, fifth best in the nation and he ranks ninth in total offense per game and 11th in passing efficiency. He has gained at least 380 yards in each of his last six games and has guided the Clemson offense to a record nine  straight games with at least 500 yards total offense.

Watson is a big reason Clemson has won 16 consecutive games, a school record, and has already established a season mark for victories (13), and ACC wins (nine). Clemson won the ACC Championship last Saturday with a 45-37 win over No. 8 North Carolina. Watson threw for 279 yards and rushed for a career high 131 in the victory.

Photo courtesy of CU Athletics

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