Deshaun Watson had a rough time staying healthy in his first season as starting quarterback of the Clemson Tigers, racking up several injuries ranging from a slightly cracked collarbone, a broken hand and a torn ACL. Through those injuries, Watson showed glimpses of greatness, which have those in Death Valley, excited about the potential of the Tigers this fall.
Last season as a freshman, Watson turned heads when he threw for 1466 yards with 14 touchdowns and completed 67.9% of his passes. The freshman competed with an injured knee against South Carolina and completed 14 of 19 passes for 269 yards and threw two touchdowns. With statistics as those, it isn’t a surprise that Watson, along with two other Tigers (wide receiver Mike Williams and defensive end Shaq Lawson) were selected for the 2015 All-ACC preseason team. It is extremely important that this potential Heisman Trophy winner stays injury free if the Tigers are going to compete in the ACC this season.
Last season, Watson averaged 15.8 yards per completion while his replacement, Cole Stoudt, averaged only 9.9 yards per completion. The level of production dropped off significantly when the young Watson was lost for the season and the Tigers struggled down the stretch with Stoudt at the helm. Former tiger, Tajh Boyd, was an essential running quarterback for the team and while Watson is comparable, he cannot perform without the help of his team. With one starter returning on the offensive line, there will be a lot of new faces this year, adding more pressure to the young QB returning from injury.
There are plenty of weapons on the Tigers’ offense but it is safe to say that Watson will be the only one that can unleash them. Mike Williams and Artavis Scott, consistently mentioned as the top receivers in ACC, were named to the 2015 Biletnikoff Watch List. With the help of Watson, this duo was able to combine for 1995 receiving yards last year. Williams dominated with 1,030 receiving yards while sophomore Artavis Scott was just shy of an 1,000-yard season by 35 yards.
As long as Watson can stay away from the injury bug, he will pounce on any opportunity that comes his way. He is the key to a potential dominating offense in the ACC. Numbers don’t lie, and the numbers he put up last year is just a tiny preview of what is to come. This will be a major comeback for the young quarterback.