Deshaun Watson and the Clemson Tigers were one of the most popular college football teams last season and ended up being the runner up in the nation last year. They fell in the National Championship game against the Alabama Crimson Tide by a final score of 45-40. Despite the loss, star quarterback Deshaun Watson is without question one of the Heisman front-runners heading into the 2016 season.
Nick Saban is one of the most respected coaches in college football and has built a dynasty at Alabama. He has a great nose for talent and had some great words for Watson.
During an interview with ESPN’s College Football Live, Saban likened Watson to Carolina Panthers’ superstar quarterback Cam Newton.
“That guy is the most significantly dominant player that we’ve played against since Cam Newton in 2010. That guy, coming back for that team, I think it going to make them a very, very competitive team in terms of being in the championship arena again.”
That is an incredibly big compliment for Watson from one of the all-time coaching greats. Newton was drafted with the No. 1 overall pick back in 2011. If Watson is able to be as dominant as Newton was in his college career, he could very well be the top pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Last season with the Tigers, Watson ended up completing 67.8 percent of his pass attempts for 4,104 yards, 35 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions, according to ESPN statistics. Those numbers were impressive coming from a sophomore. He also racked up 1,105 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground, which show the dual-threat aspect of his game.
Standing in at 6-foot-2 and weighing 205 pounds, Watson isn’t quite the physical beast that Newton is. He may not be as big as the Panthers’ star quarterback, but he has the same type of athleticism and speed in the open field to go along with a great arm.
Looking ahead to next season, the expectations are sky high and there will be a lot of pressure on Watson.
Opposing defenses will be focusing on doing everything in their power to shut him down. It will be up to Watson to prove that he can continue putting up huge numbers despite being the focal point of the defensive game plan.
Chad Reuter of NFL wrote about Watson and had him ranked as the leading Heisman candidate for the 2016 college football season. Many other journalists believe the same.
It will be interesting to see how the season goes for Watson this year. Clemson is heading into the season ranked as the No. 2 team in the nation in the ESPN way-too-early preseason rankings.
Saban isn’t the only high-profile head coach that has talked about Watson’s potential, and he certainly will not be the last. Watson has made a major impact in his first two college football seasons and will continue doing so moving forward.
Dabo Swinney is incredibly lucky to have a talent like Watson leading his football team. Clemson will be a serious contender in 2016 and should win the ACC once again. As long as Watson is under center, the Tigers will be a threat to win a National Championship.
Expect to see Watson live up to the hype in 2016 and break out as a legitimate No. 1 overall pick for the NFL Draft. He may never become the superstar that Newton appears to be developing into, but Saban certainly sees similarities between the two. Watson should be very excited to hear Saban talk about him like he did, and it should motivate him to work even harder moving forward.
Do you think Deshaun Watson and Cam Newton are similar quarterbacks? What are your thoughts on the NFL future for Watson? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[Photo by Richard Shiro/AP Images]