Passing for more than 4,000 yards last season at Clemson wasn't enough.
NFL Media analyst and former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah takes a "first look" at college football's top players for 2016.
- Michigan TE Jake Butt
- Miami QB Brad Kaaya
- Oklahoma RB Samaje Perine
- Alabama OT Cam Robinson
- LSU S Jamal Adams
- Michigan DB Jabrill Peppers
- Ohio State LB Raekwon McMillan
- USC CB Adoree' Jackson
- Missouri DE Charles Harris
- Alabama TE O.J. Howard
- Florida CB Jalen Tabor
- Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly
- Alabama OLB Tim Williams
- FSU RB Dalvin Cook
- USC WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
- Alabama DL Jonathan Allen
- Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey
- Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett
- LSU RB Leonard Fournette
- Clemson QB Deshaun Watson
Neither, apparently, was Deshaun Watson's dismantling -- mostly from the pocket -- of Alabama's vaunted defense in the College Football Playoff title game.
Despite all his accomplishments, the best player in college football still feels as though he's battling a racial stereotype that he is, as a black quarterback, a runner first and a passer second.
"People think, 'Oh, he's a black quarterback, he must be dual-threat.' People throw around that word all the time. It's lazy," Watson told Bleacher Report. "The one thing I learned early on as a football player is people have their opinions, and I can't change them. But I can show them what they're missing. People have assumed that I have to run the ball before I can throw it most all of my career, all the way back before high school. It's a stereotype put on me for a long time because I'm African-American and I'm a dual-threat quarterback."
Watson, a junior who will decide at season's end whether to apply for early draft eligibility, was a Heisman Trophy finalist last year, and an NFL quarterbacks coach said in January that he has the potential to be drafted No. 1 overall.
However, NFL Media analyst and former NFL scout Bucky Brooks says Watson has reason to be concerned about being referred to as a dual-threat QB.
"Whenever you hear that dual-threat phrase, the perception is their legs are a bigger threat than their arm," Brooks said. "So it diminishes their standing as far as how they are viewed as a pro prospect. Guys like Deshaun Watson and some other quarterbacks have to fight against that stereotype to prove to others that they're worthy of being a franchise quarterback."
CFB 24/7 is marking the days to the start of the 2016 season by counting down the top 25 players in college football.
1. LSU RB Leonard Fournette
2. Clemson QB Deshaun Watson
3. Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett
4. Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey
5. Florida CB Teez Tabor
6. Florida State RB Dalvin Cook
7. USC WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
8. Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield
9. Alabama DL Jonathan Allen
10. Alabama OT Cam Robinson
11. Michigan LB/DB Jabrill Peppers
12. USC CB Adoree' Jackson
13. Ohio State LB Raekwon McMillan
14. Alabama LB Tim Williams
15. Alabama WR Calvin Ridley
16. UCLA QB Josh Rosen
17. LSU S Jamal Adams
18. Florida State OT Roderick Johnson
19. Florida State S Derwin James
20. Michigan State DL Malik McDowell
21. Oregon RB Royce Freeman
22. Georgia RB Nick Chubb
23. Iowa CB Desmond King
24. Houston QB Greg Ward Jr.
25. Missouri DE Charles Harris
Watson called the dual-threat label a "code word."
While Watson is an accomplished rusher (1,105 yards with 12 touchdowns) last year, his effectiveness as a passer is undeniable. He completed nearly 68 percent of his passes for 4,104 yards, and shredded two of the top three defenses in college football -- Boston College and Alabama -- for more than 400 passing yards each.
With the proliferation of the spread offense in college football, plenty of coaches take advantage of quarterbacks who can run; Clemson's Dabo Swinney is only one of many. But pro coaches who have the same appreciation for athleticism in a quarterback are harder to find at the pro level, Brooks said.
"It becomes a bigger issue at the pro level, because we ask all quarterbacks to fit into a little box," Brooks said. "... There is a perception that dual-threat quarterbacks are more susceptible to being hurt. But when you really look around at the dual-threat quarterbacks that have been banged up, most of the time, they've been hurt in the pocket. Robert Griffin III got hurt in the pocket. Michael Vick, a lot of times when he was banged up, it happened in the pocket. We never talk about the traditional, classic, drop-back quarterback getting hurt in the pocket."
Watson got plenty banged up as a freshman at Clemson, missing several games with injuries, including a season-ending ACL tear. However, he didn't miss a game last year. This offseason, he added 10-15 pounds of muscle to strengthen his frame.
And with his play from the pocket, he can weaken the stereotype he feels stigmatized by.
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.