FORT WORTH, Texas — Deshaun Watson is on schedule to have his communications degree in hand by this time a year from now, after his junior season.
Clemson’s dual-threat quarterback also hopes to take care of some unfinished business by then and have a national championship trophy to go with it.
On Monday night, Watson accepted the Davey O’Brien Award as the nation’s top quarterback. He was the first player in FBS history with more than 4,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing in the same season.
Watson had 478 total yards in the College Football Playoff championship game, but the Tigers went down 45-40 to Alabama for their only loss of the season.
“That was our goal, we wanted to be legendary. There had never been a 15-0 team,” Watson said. “We wanted to set a new standard. We were just a couple of plays away from against probably, they say, one of the best teams Alabama has ever had.”
The Tigers had talked about going 15-0 since the start of practice last fall. This time, they are already starting to focus on what they need to do to finish that goal next season.
Watson said he hasn’t decided yet if next season will be his last at Clemson before going into the NFL draft.
“I won’t make that decision until the end of the season, whenever that final game is, and depending on if I stay healthy and how good of a season this is,” he said. “My main focus is training hard and putting on my weight and getting this whole team on the right page to finish that unfinished business we need to finish. The NFL and all that stuff, I’m not even going to worry about it. … I only get to experience this college football once. I want to live it up while I can.”
After Watson arrived in North Texas on Sunday for the O’Brien ceremony, the first place he went was to the home of SMU coach Chad Morris, who before last season had been Clemson’s offensive coordinator and recruited Watson to play for the Tigers.
Morris arrived at Clemson in January 2011, and the first time he saw Watson was as a high school freshman while watching film of potential recruits.
After watching one clip when Watson dropped back to pass, rolled to his right and extended a play with his feet, Morris was impressed enough to watch another clip. The coach noticed the zip on the ball when the prep freshman threw it, so he watched more and saw how Watson carried out his fake after handing off.
“From that point, it was like this kid had something to him,” said Morris, who attended Monday night’s ceremony.
And that was before Morris had even met Watson in person. They became so close that in the early-morning hours the eve of the national championship game last month, when Watson couldn’t sleep, the quarterback called his former coach to talk about anything other than football.
“He’s special,” Morris said.
Notes: Craig Morton, the first NFL quarterback to lead two different teams to the Super Bowl (Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos), was honored Monday with the Davey O’Brien Legends Award. He was presented by Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, his former Cowboys teammate. … Verne Lundquist, the current chairman of the Davey O’Brien national selection committee and lead play-by-play announcer for SEC games on CBS Sports, received the Charles Ringler Founder’s Award.