GREENVILLE – This was a normal day in the life of Deshaun Watson for six weeks (excluding spring break) during Clemson’s period of spring practices.
Wake up. Go to class. Work out. Go back to class. Team meetings and/or practice. Watch film. Go home. Do homework. Go to sleep.
“Consistent routine every day,” Watson said. “I like doing that.”
Declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft – barring injury or some other unforeseen circumstance – seems a formality for Watson, entering his third year as Clemson’s star quarterback and second year as a starter.
Although his record-setting productivity and the sport of football’s quickly-shrinking window to maximize earning years in the NFL would be enough to support that plan, Watson’s mission to secure his degree in communication studies in just six semesters makes it a no-brainer for a 20-year-old whose brain seems to never rest.
Before accepting the South Carolina Football Hall of Fame’s 2015 Collegiate Player of the Year honor at a banquet Thursday at the Hyatt Greenville, Watson updated reporters on his academic status. He is a week away from completing the most daunting of semesters: 19 credit hours, spread over two online courses and five campus classes.
The online subjects are in athletic leadership, and he grabs his backpack to attend two communication classes, American literature, sociology and – get this – American sign language.
Watson has just two final exams next week, though he’ll have other papers to write – “I guess that counts,” Watson acknowledged – before the majority of students flee Clemson for summer break starting the first of May.
Except summer will be anything but a break for Watson. Along with joining his teammates for summer workouts and player-led 7-on-7 field sessions, Watson intends to complete another 17 credit hours during Clemson’s two summer terms.
Finally, this fall, nearly three years after enrolling at Clemson in January 2014 – Watson graduated from Gainesville (Ga.) High School a semester early, accelerating his college career – Watson will lighten his load with just eight credit hours during football season, a mere 1st-and-goal away from Clemson’s commencement ceremony on Dec. 15.
Watson took 18 credit hours in the fall of 2015, which didn’t hinder his athletic progress: he became the first Division I player to surpass 4,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in a season, finishing third in the Heisman Trophy voting and leading Clemson to a College Football Playoff national championship appearance. If nothing else, his junior year will include a lighter load on the school side of things.
“Really, a lot easier. I’ll have more time on my hands,” Watson said. “That will be the final road to getting my degree. That’s what I came to college for.”
Watson became the SC Football Hall of Fame’s third Collegiate Player of the Year award-winner, and all three have played at Clemson. Defensive end Vic Beasley, who was on hand Thursday, was the 2014 nominee, following the inaugural honoree, quarterback Tajh Boyd in 2013.
The organization inducted four to its Hall of Fame Thursday: Clemson products Jeff Davis and Michael Dean Perry, former Tennessee and New England Patriots receiver Stanley Morgan of Easley, and longtime coach Dal Shealy from Batesburg.