CLEMSON — Now Deshaun Watson has one for the road.
Clemson’s sophomore quarterback is featured on his second Sports Illustrated cover in a span of four weeks. This time, Watson is pictured celebrating on the podium Saturday after he accounted for five touchdowns in the top-ranked Tigers’ 45-37 victory over North Carolina in the 2015 ACC Championship in Charlotte.
Watson was named a Heisman Trophy finalist Monday evening — the first in the history of Clemson football — and is preparing to attend the Home Depot College Football Awards in Atlanta Thursday night before the Heisman ceremony in New York City Saturday night.
The SI edition featuring the second of Watson’s covers hits newsstands Wednesday and is Watson’s first national cover. The first such edition, on Nov. 16, depicted Watson running the ball during Clemson’s 23-13 win over Florida State to clinch the ACC Atlantic Division. However, that was a regional cover; the national cover illustrated a story on Olympics swimmer Michael Phelps, and was even the cover of choice in upstate New York the weekend Clemson football was playing a road game at Syracuse.
Before November, Clemson had last been featured on the SI cover after winning the 1981 national championship. Receiver Perry Tuttle was shown celebrating a touchdown catch against Nebraska in the Orange Bowl victory.
Meanwhile, Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson is planning to forego his senior season and enter the 2016 NFL Draft.
Lawson told a local television station in Houston of his plans while attending the Ted Hendricks Award ceremony. Lawson is there as one of six finalists to be named the nation’s best defensive ends.
Lawson leads the nation with 22.5 tackles for a loss. He was also a finalist for the Lombardi Award, honoring the best defensive player in the nation.
Watson and Lawson were named USA Today’s first-team All-American quarterback Tuesday.
Defensive coordinator Brent Venables might now have a little bit of added motivation.
A Broyles Award finalist for the second time in his coaching career, Venables did not win the honor announced Tuesday morning. That went to the man he’ll soon be scheming against: Oklahoma offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, a 32-year-old who was rumored to be a candidate for South Carolina’s head coaching position before that went to Will Muschamp.
Riley helped steer Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, a former walk-on, to the No. 2-highest passer rating in the country.
ESPN announced the Orange Bowl pitting Clemson against Oklahoma will be called by play-by-play announcer Brad Nessler, color commentator Todd Blackledge and sideline reporter Holly Rowe.