In January, Deshaun Watson led Clemson to a 35-31 comeback win over Alabama to give the Tigers their first national title since 1981.
A few weeks later, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said that passing on Watson in the NFL Draft would be the equivalent of passing on Michael Jordan. Swinney, of course, was referencing the 1984 NBA Draft in which Portland drafted Sam Bowie over Jordan.
Being compared to the greatest basketball player in NBA history is quite a compliment, but there has to be some pressure that comes along with it, no?
“No, because I know where he’s coming from,” Watson said on CBS Sports Radio’s Reiter Than You. “He sees greatness in me. He sees that I can be very, very successful like Michael Jordan. I understand that I’m currently not Michael Jordan. I’m Deshaun Watson. And hopefully one day I can have people talk about me like they talk about MJ, but it’s going to come with work and preparation and being successful and performing.”
Watson, a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist, accounted for 10,000+ total yards and 97 touchdowns over the last two seasons. He led Clemson to back-to-back national title games and was perhaps the most clutch player in college football. Nevertheless, many scouts prefer Mitchell Trubisky, who started just 13 games at North Carolina, as well as Patrick Mahomes and other quarterback prospects at the next level.
“I have no idea,” Watson said. “That’s a good question. I have no idea why they think that (given) what I’ve done at every level that I’ve played on leading up to here. Honestly, I couldn’t even answer that question. But only time will tell. We will see. I know what I can do, I know what I’m about, and other people know what I’m about. I don’t believe the hype and all the attention. I just go to work.”
Watson will almost assuredly be drafted in the first round and could be a top-10 pick. Wherever he lands, he plans on succeeding – regardless of circumstances.
“The right fit is always perfect regardless of the situation or what you’re doing,” he said. “Having the right fit and the right timing will always be good for you or any person. But any situation that happens on Thursday is going to be the right situation. It’s going to be what I was called to do and called to go to. Whatever team calls my name, it’s going to be the right fit for me.”
Watson was then asked to complete the following sentence: Five years from now, Deshaun Watson will be…
“Five years from now,” he said, “Deshaun Watson will be (a) franchise quarterback who will be one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL – with hopefully two Super Bowls.”