Deshaun Watson is being heralded as a top NFL draft prospect, but he says that status won't lead him to change anything about the way he plays this fall. Clemson's quarterback will focus on getting Clemson back to the College Football Playoff for the second year in a row, and that means maintaining his contributions as a prolific rushing threat.
"I'm still going to be the Deshaun Watson I was before all that," Watson said, per ESPN. "I'm not focused on it. If a franchise wants me, they'll take me. But I'm trying to win a national championship here."
Watson passed for 4,104 yards for the Tigers last year and rushed for another 1,105, leading CU to the CFP title game against Alabama, where he played his most impressive game of the year in a 45-40 loss. Although Watson's willingness to run with the ball remains unchanged in an offense that calls its share of designed quarterback rushes, he expressed disdain earlier this month with being labeled as a dual-threat QB.
As a junior, Watson will decide after the season whether to apply for early eligibility in the 2017 NFL Draft. He endured multiple injuries as a freshman, including a torn ACL that ended his season, but he didn't miss a game as a sophomore. He added some size over the offseason, something NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah suggested would help him.
"If I have the opportunity to leave, then I'll leave," Watson said. "But right now my focus is enjoying my college career and being the best player I can for this program."
Clemson opens the season at Auburn on Sept. 3.