With a 45-37 victory over North Carolina in the ACC Championship, QB Deshaun Watson and the Clemson Tigers capped off an undefeated (13-0) season and earned a berth in the College Football Playoff.
Watson’s week would get even sweeter as the sophomore quarterback was later awarded an invitation to the 2015 Heisman Trophy ceremony.
He becomes the first ever Heisman finalist for the Clemson Tigers, an honor all in its own.
History is certainly on Watson’s side, considering the fact that quarterbacks have dominated the award dating back to 2000.
Alabama RB Mark Ingram is the only non-QB to win the award in the last fifteen years (Reggie Bush’s 2005 victory was vacated).
But despite being the only quarterback to be a finalist, does Watson have the accolades to bring home the hardware and trump Alabama RB Derrick Henry and Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey?
Let’s take a look at Watson’s statistical resume, ranging from team performance, to season stats and individual performance against key opponents.
Clemson Team Performance
Anyone that thinks team performance doesn’t matter is just kidding themselves – just look at past winners.
Clemson is the lone undefeated team sitting at the top of the College Football Playoff rankings. Being the signal caller and top offensive weapon for a 13-0 team is certainly an added bonus for Deshaun Watson.
Clemson’s undefeated season featured a number of notable victories. That includes a 58-0 drubbing of Miami and a 23-13 win over Florida State. Let’s not forget the aforementioned ACC title victory over the Tar Heels.
Despite a few close calls against Louisville, Notre Dame and South Carolina, the Tigers remain the one unblemished team. That likely gives a slight boost to Watson’s chances.
Deshaun Watson: 2015 Season Overview
Deshaun Watson completed nearly 70% of his passes (69.5 to be exact), throwing for more than 3,500 yards with 30 passing touchdowns. He’s also known for his mobility, amassing 887 rushing yards (5.4 ypc) and 11 TD’s on the ground.
Watson’s 159.56 QB rating was 11th in the country, his 30 passing touchdowns ranked 9th and his 69.5% completion percentage was the third-best mark in the nation.
He also ranked 93rd in the country in rushing, fourth-best amongst QB’s.
Once the College Football Playoff arrives, Clemson’s sophomore quarterback will have an interesting matchup against QB Baker Mayfield, who many felt was Heisman-worthy considering the gaudy statistics that he put up for the Sooners.
By season’s end, Deshaun Watson entered the 2015 season as a Heisman favorite in many eyes and as the season progressed, he clearly didn’t disappoint, posting great numbers and leading the Tigers to its first College Football Playoff berth.
Deshaun Watson: Individual Performances – Highs and Lows
While Deshaun Watson managed more than 4,000 all-purpose yards and 41 total touchdowns, how did he fare in games against stronger competition? Here’s a quick sampling of stat-lines and performances that stick out more than others:
- Against Boston College’s 8th-ranked pass defense, Watson threw for 420 passing yards (his highest mark of the season)
- Facing a solid Notre Dame defense, Watson had his worst performance, going 10-21 for just 84 passing yards, although he had 93 rushing yards and three total TD’s
- In a 23-13 win over Florida State, Watson had 404 total yards and was 28-42 for 297 yards passing with 1 TD and no INT’s
- Watson was 26-42 for 289 yards, 3 TD and 1 INT through the air against North Carolina, while adding in 131 rushing yards and 2 rushing TD’s (on 24 carries)
- He had 6 total TD’s and 437 total yards in a 56-41 win over N.C. State
Overall, Watson had a strong season. He filled the stat sheet in the air and on the ground. Although, his October 3rd performance against the Fighting Irish was far from his best.
So, does Deshaun Watson get your vote for the 2015 Heisman trophy?
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