A preseason prediction of what type of numbers Clemson QB Deshaun Watson can post during the 2016 college football season.
When we attempt to predict how good Deshaun Watson can be this upcoming season, let’s take a look back last year and see how good he was in 2015. In short, he was really good. Actually, he was historically good. Deshaun Watson was the first QB in college football history to pass for 4000 yards and rush for 1000 in a single season.
His final numbers for the season were 4104 yards passing, 1105 yards rushing, 35 passing TD’s, and 12 rushing TD’s. Deshaun Watson was also a Heisman finalist, Davy O’Brien award winner, Manning award winner, ACC Offensive Player Of The Year, ACC Player Of The Year, and also earned All-American honors.
Not a bad season to say the least! Especially when you consider that the first half of the season wasn’t that great from a statistical point of view for Deshaun.
The first seven games of the season Deshaun Watson passed for 1553 yards and 15 TD’s. That’s an average of 221.9 yards per game. Watson’s rushing totals during those same seven games were 332 yards and 3 rushing TD’s.
That’s an average of 47.4 yards rushing per game. Those aren’t bad numbers but they’re not spectacular either. However the last eight games of the season, Deshaun was nothing short of sensational.
Over the second half of the season, Deshaun passed for 2551 yards and rushed for 773 yards. Watson also added 20 TD’s through the air and 9 on the ground.
That’s an average of 318.9 yards passing and 96.6 yards rushing per game. Quite an improvement over the first half of the year.
So why the disparity between the first and second half of the season? There were a few factors that came into play.
Perhaps the main factor was that Deshaun was coming off of knee surgery from the previous season. Even though he was physically good to go at the start of the season, mentally it generally takes a few games to regain confidence after an injury.
Watson also lost his go to WR, Mike Williams, for the season due to a freak neck injury on the opening drive of the season.
As the season progressed, Watson and the coaching staff began to trust that knee more and more. Along with that, other players stepped up to fill the void that Mike Williams left behind. That’s when Deshaun Watson and the Clemson offense as a whole really began to take off.
Now to answer the question I posed in the title of this article.
Just how good can Deshaun Watson be this season?
The numbers that I’m going to propose are dependent on a few factors. It assumes health of course number one.
It also assumes that Watson won’t be frequently pulled out at half time due to Clemson having a big lead over their opponent. The numbers I’m going to give also are dependent on the Tigers having another one or two extra post season games.
This season I think that Deshaun Watson could possibly pass for 4500 yards, rush for 1400, and have somewhere around 55 total TD’s. Lofty expectations? Absolutely. However I don’t it’s an enormous stretch to think that Watson can reach these numbers.
This season, Deshaun will have the benefit of having an entire off-season where he has not been nursing an injury. He was able to participate in spring practice for the first time in his Clemson career. Seeing him at the spring game, he is noticeably thicker than last season.
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A bigger and stronger Deshaun Watson is bad news for opposing defenses! Of course there is the fact that the Clemson offense is absolutely loaded. Mike Williams will be back along with a receiving group that is among the deepest and most talented in the nation.
Wayne Gallman leads a backfield that is very capable of pounding the ball and opening up the Tigers air attack.
The offensive line will be one of the best groups that Clemson has had in decades and TE Jordan Leggett will be among the nations best. Consider this as well.
Thanks to Deshaun Watson taking on an insane course load over his career, he only has 8 hours left to graduate. That leaves more time for him to concentrate on football.
So there you have it! Hopefully I have successfully laid out my case as to why I think Deshaun Watson can achieve video game type numbers this season. Given his talent and the ability of his offensive supporting cast, I see no reason as to why we won’t see Deshaun Watson re-write history all over again this season.