It garnered plenty of attention nationally, with coach Bill O'Brien saying, "That's the kind of guy he is."
Back in his former home, it caught everyone's eye. As Watson's Texans get set to play the Titans on Sunday, those at his alma mater watch and smile from afar. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney mentioned it in a staff meeting, telling those in the room, "I'm sure you've seen the article, but ... how about Deshaun?" That was the recollection from Allison Waymyers, the players relations director for Clemson's 5th Quarter Program for Career and Professional Development.
For her and everyone else who saw Watson graduate from Clemson in three years, it was business as usual. After seeing the video, she texted Watson, "'That's why you continue to be blessed, you are a blessing.' That's him through and through."
Doing things like giving his roughly $29,000 game check away is not something Watson could do at Clemson. But he did much else. He received the 2016 Allstate AFCA Good Works trophy at a Habitat for Humanity, for instance. Last July, he received the PAT award for leadership and excellence on and off the field. The Clemson community support staff visited Watson and other Clemson players during camp this year in West Virginia. Those back at his college have seen this multiple times.
"Anyone dealing with adversity, he will sit there and sign every autograph, even if it means taking time away from his mom or family," Waymyers said. "I had to be the one to say, 'Come on.'" His mindset is, he's really trying to encourage others for how to act in a similar situation."
Added Woody McCorvey, Clemson's associate athletic director for football administration: "We did some things to enhance Deshaun, but his mom, aunt and his QB coach in high school sent us a very good person."