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Deshaun Watson Drive coming soon
Planning board gives approval to proposal
The Gainesville Planning and Appeals Board gave its OK to a proposal to rename Touchdown Drive to Deshaun Watson Drive. Touchdown Drive is a short road that connects Pearl Nix Parkway to Century Place at Gainesville High School.

The Gainesville Planning and Appeals Board has given its OK to renaming Touchdown Drive outside Gainesville High School to Deshaun Watson Drive.

City Council will formally sign off on the change at its meeting on Feb. 7.

The road leads into the high school campus from Pearl Nix Parkway and connects to Century Place, which runs past the school’s football practice field.

Watson, the hometown hero who led the Clemson Tigers football team to the national championship in a thrilling last-second win over Alabama last week, is beloved in Gainesville.

Watson was a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist after leading the Red Elephants to the 2012 Georgia state championship as a junior in high school.

Watson has said he will enter the NFL Draft this spring.

Gainesville school board member Sammy Smith made the proposal to change the road’s name on behalf of his public relations firm Rainmaker & Associates.

Gainesville football coach Bruce Miller said it’s Watson’s character, not just his exploits on the football field, that make him deserving of having a road named in his honor.

“It’s just not naming a street after a player,” he added. “That’s easily done.”

Miller said he met with Watson over the Christmas holiday.

“He’s a fine young man,” he added. “The kid hasn’t changed a bit. He is so special.”

Watson would be the second Gainesville football player to have a road near the school named after him, the other being 1963 Heisman Trophy runner-up Billy Lothridge.

“What a proud moment for our community,” planning commissioner Doug Carter said while acknowledging Miller’s role in helping develop Watson as a person and a player.