Deshaun Watson
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Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson
refer to caption
Watson with the Texans in 2018
No. 4 - Houston Texans
Position:Quarterback
Personal information
Born: (1995-09-14) September 14, 1995 (age 25)
Gainesville, Georgia
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:215 lb (98 kg)
Career information
High school:Gainesville
(Gainesville, Georgia)
College:Clemson
NFL Draft:2017 / Round: 1 / Pick: 12
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 12, 2020
TD-INT:95-34
Passing yards:12,917
Completion percentage:67.3
Passer rating:103.6
Rushing yards:1,526
Rushing touchdowns:16
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Derrick Deshaun Watson (born September 14, 1995) is an American football quarterback for the Houston Texans of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Clemson and led the team to a CFP championship game appearance in 2015 and a national championship win in 2016. He was selected by the Texans 12th overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. He was named to his first Pro Bowl in 2018 and is one of four quarterbacks in NFL history with a career passer rating over 100.

Early years

Watson was born in Gainesville, Georgia on September 14, 1995, to Deann Watson and Don Richardson. He attended Gainesville High School, arriving there in the fall of 2010.[1] He played for the Red Elephants football team. Gainesville head coach Bruce Miller had planned to start a rising junior to quarterback his spread offense, but Watson won the starting spot. He was the first freshman quarterback Coach Miller had ever started.[2]

During his career, Watson set numerous state records, including total yards (17,134), total touchdowns (218), career passing yards (13,077), and career passing touchdowns (155).[3] He rushed for 4,057 yards and 63 touchdowns. Watson excelled in his junior year, winning a state championship and earning accolades such as Junior All-American, 2014 Player to Watch, and 2014 Top 100 Recruit.[4] During his sophomore and senior years, he led the Gainesville High School Football Team to the state semi-finals.[5]

Watson received offers from numerous colleges before verbally committing to Clemson University on February 1, 2012, to play college football.[6] He was ranked the number one quarterback recruit for the 2014 class by ESPN 300.[4]

College career

Freshman year

Watson enrolled at Clemson in January 2014. During his high school career, Watson had worn #4. At Clemson, that number had been retired after quarterback Steve Fuller graduated. However, Fuller allowed the number to come out of retirement so that Watson could wear it.[7] He entered his true freshman season as the backup to starter Cole Stoudt, but still received extensive playing time.[8] Through three games, he completed 29-of-41 passes for 479 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions, outperforming Stoudt. Watson was named the Tigers' starter on September 21.[9][10] In Watson's first career start against the North Carolina Tar Heels, he set a school record with six touchdown passes and threw for 435 yards en route to a 50-35 victory.[11]

On October 11, 2014, Watson broke a bone in his right hand in a game against the Louisville Cardinals.[12][13] He left in the first quarter and was out for the game. As a result of the injury, he missed the games against Boston College, Syracuse, and Wake Forest. He returned for the game against Georgia Tech only to suffer an LCL strain, missing most of the game.[14] During the following week in practice it was reported that Watson had tweaked his knee. He did not play against Georgia State the following week, but came back the following week to play against state rival South Carolina.[15] After defeating the Gamecocks, it was revealed to the public that Watson had played the game with a torn ACL.[16] He underwent surgery on his left knee to repair his ACL the Friday before Clemson's bowl game against Oklahoma.[17]

Sophomore year

In 2015, Watson led Clemson to an undefeated 12-0 regular season and a #1 ranking in the polls.[18] After the regular season, the Tigers qualified for the ACC Championship Game, facing off against #10 North Carolina. Watson threw for 289 yards and three touchdowns, and ran for 131 yards and two touchdowns in the game, to lead the Tigers to a 45-37 win over the Tar Heels, winning the ACC Championship for the first time since 2011.[19] Watson was also named the ACC Championship Game MVP for his performance.[20]

The Tigers were selected to participate in the 2016 College Football Playoff and were selected as the #1 seed. They faced off against the #4 seed Oklahoma Sooners in the Orange Bowl, one of the two College Football Playoff Semifinal games. Watson threw for 189 yards and a touchdown, and ran for 145 yards and a touchdown, as he led Clemson to a 37-17 victory over the Sooners.[21] Watson was named the 2015 Orange Bowl Offensive MVP for his performance.

With the win, the Tigers advanced to the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship game against #2 Alabama Crimson Tide, where Clemson lost 45-40. Watson threw for 405 yards and four touchdowns in the game, and ran for another 73 yards on the ground in the losing effort.[22] He surpassed the 4,000 yard passing mark for the season in this game.[23] He set the record for most total yards in national championship game history, with 478 yards (405 passing / 73 rushing) against the nation's best defense. In addition to throwing for over 4,000 yards, he also rushed for over 1,000 yards to complete his true sophomore season. Watson was the first player ever to accomplish this feat in the history of college football.[24]

For his accomplishments during the 2015 season, Watson was named a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, the first time a Clemson player has been invited to the Heisman Trophy presentation. He finished third in the balloting after winner Derrick Henry, running back from Alabama, and Christian McCaffrey, running back from Stanford.[25] Watson's third-place finish in Heisman voting is the best finish in Clemson football history. He won the Davey O'Brien Award, which is awarded annually to the best college quarterback.[26] He was also named the 2015 ACC Player of the Year and ACC Offensive Player of the Year.[27][28]

Junior year

Watson in 2016

Watson started his junior season off positively with 248 passing yards, one touchdown, and one interception in a narrow 19-13 victory over the Auburn Tigers.[29] On October 1, against Louisville, Watson finished with 306 passing yards, five touchdowns, and three interceptions in the 42-36 victory.[30] Watson finished with 378 passing yards and two touchdowns against Florida State on October 29, 2016, rallying to a 37-34 win.[31] Against Syracuse on November 5, 2016, he had 169 passing yards with two touchdowns, but left the game with an apparent shoulder injury.[32][33] On November 26, against South Carolina, he passed for 347 yards, six touchdowns, and one interception in the 56-7 victory.[34]

In the fall of 2016, Watson became the first player since Jason White in 2003-2004 to win the Davey O'Brien Award in back-to-back years. That year he was also selected as the winner of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and was the first repeat winner of the Manning Award.[35] For the second year in row, Watson was named one of five Heisman Trophy candidates, along with Michigan's Jabrill Peppers, Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield and Dede Westbrook, and Louisville's Lamar Jackson. He again came up short of winning, as Louisville's Lamar Jackson was awarded the Heisman Trophy for his efforts and performances throughout the 2016 season, finishing with nearly twice as many first place votes as Watson.[36][37]

After defeating Ohio State 31-0 in the CFP semifinal in the Fiesta Bowl and receiving the offensive MVP award for his efforts, Clemson defeated No. 1 Alabama by a score of 35-31 in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship.[38] Watson completed 36-of-56 passes for 420 yards and three touchdowns against the nation's top-ranked defense, including the last-second game-winning pass to wide receiver, Hunter Renfrow. He also rushed for 43 yards and a touchdown.[39] This gave the Clemson Tigers program its second national championship in school history, ending a three-decade national championship drought. Watson was awarded the offensive MVP award for his performance during the national championship game.[40]

On November 8, 2016, Watson, along with three other Clemson players, Wayne Gallman, Artavis Scott, and Mike Williams,[41] declared for the NFL Draft.[42] In December 2016, Watson graduated with a degree in Communication after three years at Clemson.[43]

Statistics

Deshaun Watson Passing Rushing
Year Team Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A TD Int Rtg Att Yds Avg TD
2014 Clemson 93 137 67.9 1,466 10.7 14 2 188.6 63 200 3.2 5
2015 Clemson 333 491 67.8 4,109 8.4 35 13 156.3 207 1,105 5.3 12
2016 Clemson 388 579 67.0 4,593 7.9 41 17 151.1 165 629 3.8 9
Career 814 1,207 67.4 10,168 8.4 90 32 157.5 435 1,934 4.4 26

Source:[44]

Professional career

Coming out of Clemson, Watson was projected to be a first round pick by the majority of scouts and analysts. He was ranked as the top quarterback available in the draft by Sports Illustrated, Pro Football Focus, and ESPN.[45][46][47] He was ranked the second best quarterback by NFLDraftScout.com.[48]

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand size 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split 20-yard shuttle Three-cone drill Vertical jump Broad jump Wonderlic
6 ft  in
(1.89 m)
221 lb
(100 kg)
33 in
(0.84 m)
 in
(0.25 m)
 in
(0.83 m)
9 ft 9 in
(2.97 m)
All values from NFL Combine[50][51]

The Houston Texans drafted Watson in the first round (12th overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft.[52] The Texans acquired the pick from the Cleveland Browns, trading their 25th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft and their first round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Houston had already traded (then, Houston starting quarterback) Brock Osweiler to Cleveland for draft picks earlier that year in part of what was widely considered the first major "salary dump" of the NFL. Watson was the third quarterback taken in the draft, behind Mitchell Trubisky, who went second overall to the Chicago Bears, and Patrick Mahomes, who went tenth overall to the Kansas City Chiefs.[53][54][55][56]

2017 season: Rookie year

On May 12, 2017, the Texans signed Watson to a four-year, $13.84 million contract featuring an $8.21 million signing bonus.[57]

Watson made his first regular-season appearance on September 10, 2017, against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He entered the game after Tom Savage was benched at halftime. He played for the remainder of the game. In the third quarter, he threw his first NFL touchdown, a 4-yard pass to wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. He finished with 102 passing yards, a touchdown, and an interception, as the Texans lost by a score of 29-7.[58][59]

Watson made his first career start on September 14, 2017, which was his 22nd birthday, during Thursday Night Football on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals. He finished with 125 passing yards, 67 rushing yards, and a 49-yard rushing touchdown as the Texans won 13-9.[60] During Week 3 against the defending Super Bowl champion, the New England Patriots, Watson finished with 301 passing yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions while also rushing for 41 yards as the Texans lost 36-33.[61] During Week 4 against the Tennessee Titans, he completed 25-of-34 passes for 283 yards, 4 touchdowns, and an interception while also rushing for 24 yards and a touchdown as the Texans won 57-14. His 5 total scores tied the NFL rookie touchdown record.[62] He is also the first rookie to pass for at least four touchdowns and rush for one touchdown in a game since Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton did so for the Minnesota Vikings in 1961.[63] His performance in Week 4 earned him AFC Offensive Player of the Week.[64] Watson followed up his Week 4 performance with another great outing, this time on Sunday Night Football against the Kansas City Chiefs. In the 42-34 loss, Watson finished 16-of-31 for 261 yards and 5 touchdown passes, tying an NFL rookie record for touchdown passes thrown in a single game. He also rushed for 31 yards and a 2-point conversion.[65] During Week 6, Watson threw for 225 yards, 3 touchdowns, and an interception while also rushing for 23 yards as the Texans beat the Cleveland Browns by a score of 33-17.[66] After a bye week, the Texans went on the road to face off the Seattle Seahawks. During that game, Watson posted his first career game with over 400 passing yards. He finished with 402 passing yards, 4 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, and 67 rushing yards as the Texans lost 41-38. Watson threw 16 touchdowns in the month of October, setting the NFL record for most touchdown passes by a rookie in a calendar month. He was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Month and the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month for October.[67]

On November 2, Watson tore his ACL on a non-contact play during practice, prematurely ending his rookie season.[68] In 7 games (6 starts) of his rookie year, Watson finished with 1,699 passing yards, 19 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions. He also rushed for 269 yards and 2 touchdowns.[69][70] On November 8, Watson underwent successful surgery on his right knee to repair his ACL, and no further knee damage was reported.[71] Watson was ranked 50th by his peers on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2018.[72] He was named to the PFWA All-Rookie Team, becoming the second Texans quarterback to receive this award since David Carr in 2002.[73]

2018 season

Watson in Denver in 2018

On September 9, 2018, against the New England Patriots in the season opener, Watson returned from injury and threw for 176 yards with a touchdown and an interception and rushed eight times for 40 yards as the Texans lost by a score of 20-27.[74] During Week 2 against the Tennessee Titans, Watson passed for 310 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception while also rushing for 44 yards as the Texans lost by a score of 17-20.[75] In Week 3, against the New York Giants, Watson passed for 385 passing yards, two touchdowns, and one interception in the 27-22 loss. He also rushed for 36 yards.[76]

During Week 4 against the Indianapolis Colts, Watson had 375 passing yards, two passing touchdowns, and one interception to go along with 41 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown as the Texans won 37-34 in overtime.[77] During Week 5 against the Dallas Cowboys, he passed for 375 yards, one touchdown, and one interception as the Texans won 19-16 in overtime.[78] In Week 6 against the Buffalo Bills, Watson passed for 177 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions as the Texans narrowly won 20-13. Playing through broken ribs and a partially collapsed lung, he took a 12-hour bus ride from Houston to Jacksonville because of fears about what the air pressure might do to his chest.[79] He passed for 139 yards and a touchdown to lead the Texans to a Week 7 road win over the Jacksonville Jaguars by a score of 20-7.[80] During a Week 8 42-23 victory over the Miami Dolphins, Watson completed 16-of-20 passes for five touchdowns, tying his career-high for most touchdown passes in a game and did not throw an interception for the second week in a row.[81] During a Week 9 19-17 road victory over the Denver Broncos, Watson had another great outing, finishing 17-of-24 for 213 yards and two touchdowns.[82]

After a Week 10 bye, the Texans went on the road to face the Washington Redskins. Watson passed for 208 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions as the Texans narrowly won 23-21 to extend their winning streak to seven games.[83] Watson bounced back in Week 12, throwing for 210 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 70 yards and a touchdown as the Texans beat the Titans by a score of 34-17.[84] He continued his hot streak in the next game against the Cleveland Browns. In that game, Watson passed for 224 yards and a touchdown as the Texans won by a score of 29-13.[85] The next week, the Texans were dealt with their fourth loss on the season, by a score of 24-21, from division rival Indianapolis Colts, with Watson passing for 267 yards and a touchdown in the contest.[86] In Week 15, the Texans beat the New York Jets on the road by a score of 29-22, with Watson providing 294 passing yards and two touchdowns. In the final road game of the season against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Texans narrowly lost by a score of 32-30. Watson passed for 339 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 49 yards and two touchdowns.[87] In the Week 17 regular-season finale, the Texans returned home and defeated the Jaguars by a score of 20-3 with Watson passing for 234 yards. In addition, he rushed for 66 yards and a touchdown in the AFC South-clinching victory.[88]

Watson finished the regular season with a career-high 4,165 passing yards, 26 touchdowns, nine interceptions, 551 rushing yards, and five rushing touchdowns.[89] He led the league in average time spent in the pocket and was second in average time before getting rid of the ball. This was a large contributing factor[90] to Watson facing the most dropbacks under pressure (281) and tied for the fifth-most sacks in a single season in NFL history with 62.[91]

Making his first postseason appearance in his career, Watson and the Texans hosted division-rival Indianapolis Colts in the Wild Card Round. Watson completed 29-of-49 passes for 235 yards as the Texans lost by a score of 21-7.[92]

On January 21, 2019, Watson was named to his first Pro Bowl, replacing the Super Bowl bound Tom Brady.[93] He was ranked 51st by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2019.[94]

2019 season

Watson alongside Ryan Tannehill at the 2020 Pro Bowl

In the season opener against the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football, Watson completed 20 of 30 passes for 268 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception while also rushing for 40 yards and a touchdown as the Texans narrowly lost by a score of 30-28.[95][96] During a Week 3 27-20 road victory against the Los Angeles Chargers, he threw for 351 yards and three touchdowns, including a 53-yard touchdown to tight end Jordan Akins. Watson was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week due to his spectacular performance.[97][98] Two weeks later against the Atlanta Falcons, Watson threw for 426 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions for a perfect passer rating in the 53-32 victory; earning him his second AFC Offensive Player of the Week award.[99][100] In the next game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Watson threw for 280 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. He also rushed 10 times for 42 yards and two touchdowns in the 31-24 road victory.[101] During Week 8 against the Oakland Raiders, he had 279 passing yards and three passing touchdowns in the 27-24 victory.[102] During a play near the end of the fourth quarter, Watson was kicked in the eye by defensive end Arden Key's cleat while escaping a sack and blindly threw a touchdown pass to tight end Darren Fells.[103] During Week 13 against the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football, he threw for 234 yards and 3 touchdowns and caught a six-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins in a 28-22 victory,[104] en route to his third AFC Offensive Player of the Week award of the season.[105] Watson helped lead the Texans to a 10-6 record and an AFC South title in 2019.[106] He finished the season with 3,852 passing yards, 26 passing touchdowns, and 12 interceptions to go along with 413 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns.[107]

In the Wild Card Round against the Buffalo Bills, Watson led the Texans back from a 16-0 deficit to win 22-19 in overtime, despite being sacked seven times. He sealed the game by spinning out of a potential sack by two Bills defenders and finding Taiwan Jones, who ran to the Buffalo 10-yard line to set up the game-winning field goal in overtime. This was Watson's first NFL playoff victory.[108] In total, he finished the game with 247 passing yards and a touchdown along 55 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown.[109] In the Divisional Round against the Kansas City Chiefs, Watson threw for 388 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 37 yards and a touchdown as the Texans lost on the road by a score of 51-31 after blowing a 24-0 lead in the second quarter.[110]

2020 season

On April 28, 2020, the Texans exercised the fifth-year option on Watson's contract.[111] On September 5, 2020, Watson signed a four-year, $177.5 million[112] contract extension with the Texans with $111 million in guarantees, keeping him under contract through the 2025 season.[113] This was the second biggest contract in NFL history after Patrick Mahomes' contract.[112]

In Week 1 of the season against the Kansas City Chiefs, Watson threw for 253 yards, one touchdown, and one interception as well as rushing for 27 yards and a touchdown during the 34-20 loss in the NFL Kickoff Game.[114] In Week 4 against the Minnesota Vikings, Watson threw for 300 yards and two touchdowns during the 31-23 loss. [115] In Week 5 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Watson threw for 359 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions during the 30-14 win. This was the Texans' first win of the season.[116] In Week 6, a 42-36 overtime loss to the Tennessee Titans, Watson was efficient going 28-of-37 for 335 yards and four passing touchdowns.[117]

In Week 11 against the New England Patriots, Watson threw for 344 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 36 yards and another touchdown during the 27-20 win, later earning the AFC Offensive Player of the Week award.[118][119] In Week 12, a 41-25 win over the Detroit Lions, Watson went 17-of-25 for 318 yards and four passing touchdowns.[120] With his Week 12 performance, Watson briefly became the NFL's all-time regular season career passer rating leader before being surpassed five days later by Patrick Mahomes.[121]

NFL statistics

Regular season

Teams Passing Rushing Fumbles
Season Team GP GS Record Comp Att Pct Yds Avg TD Int Rate Att Yds Avg TD Fum Lost
2017 HOU 7 6 3-3 126 204 61.8 1,699 8.3 19 8 103.0 36 269 7.5 2 3 1
2018 HOU 16 16 11-5 345 505 68.3 4,165 8.2 26 9 103.1 99 551 5.6 5 9 3
2019 HOU 15 15 10-5 333 495 67.3 3,852 7.8 26 12 98.0 82 413 5.0 7 10 3
2020 HOU 11 11 4-7 250 363 68.9 3,201 8.8 24 5 112.5 62 293 4.7 2 3 0
Total 49 48 28-20 1,054 1,567 67.3 12,917 8.3 95 34 103.6 279 1,526 5.5 16 25 7

Postseason

Teams Passing Rushing Fumbles
Season Team GP GS Record Comp Att Pct Yds Avg TD Int Rate Att Yds Avg TD Fum Lost
2018 HOU 1 1 0-1 29 49 59.1 235 4.8 1 1 69.7 8 76 9.5 0 0 0
2019 HOU 2 2 1-1 51 77 66.2 635 8.2 3 0 104.6 20 92 4.6 2 1 0
Total 3 3 1-2 80 126 63.5 870 6.9 4 1 91.0 28 168 6.0 2 1 0

Source:[122]

Records and achievements

NFL records

  • Most passing touchdowns in a single game by a rookie quarterback: 5 (tied with Ray Buivid, Matthew Stafford, Jameis Winston, and Daniel Jones)[123]
  • Most passing touchdowns in a calendar month by a rookie quarterback: 16[67]
  • Most passing touchdowns by a rookie quarterback in one half: 4 (tied with Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston) (Week 5, 2017)[124]
  • First player in NFL history to pass for 400+ yards, throw 4+ TD passes, and rush for 50+ yards in a single game. (Week 8, 2017)[125]
  • First player in NFL history with multiple 5 passing touchdown games within his first 2 seasons: 2
  • First player in NFL history to have 4,000+ passing yards, 25+ passing touchdowns, 500+ rushing yards, and 5 rushing touchdowns in a single season
  • Fastest player in NFL history to have 6,500+ passing yards and 500+ rushing yards (26 games)
  • Fastest player in NFL history to have 50 passing touchdowns and 10 rushing touchdowns (27 games)
  • First quarterback with back-to-back games with at least 375 passing yards and 35 rushing yards
  • Most passing touchdowns by a rookie in a 7-game span in NFL history: 19[125]
  • Most passing touchdowns by a rookie in a 5-game span in NFL history: 18[126]
  • Longest streak of games with 3 or more passing touchdowns by a rookie in NFL history: 4[127]
  • Most games with at least 375 passing yards and 40 rushing yards in NFL history: 3 (tied with Steve Young)
  • Most passing touchdowns for a quarterback through his first six career games: 15
  • First rookie with two games of 300+ passing yards and 40+ rushing yards in a season
  • First rookie to produce 5+ touchdowns in consecutive games
  • Most completions with a perfect passer rating: 28
  • Most attempts with a perfect passer rating: 33 (tied with Jared Goff)[128]

Texans franchise records

  • Most passing touchdowns in a single game by a rookie: 5 (October 8, 2017, vs. Kansas City Chiefs)[123]
  • Most passing touchdowns in a season by a rookie: 19[129]
  • Most consecutive games with a touchdown pass: 20
  • Most passing yards in a game by a rookie: 301
  • Highest passer rating in a season: 103.1
  • First rookie quarterback with 3+ touchdown passes in a game
  • First rookie quarterback to throw for 300+ yards
  • First quarterback to score touchdowns (one passing, one rushing) in his first two games
  • First quarterback to record 300+ passing yards and 40+ rushing yards in a single game (Week 3, 2017)
  • Most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback: 14

Personal life

Watson is a Christian and converted to the Southern Baptist Convention after coming to Houston.[130][131] In 2006, when Watson was 11, Atlanta Falcons running back Warrick Dunn donated a home to his family. It was donated through Dunn's charity Homes for the Holidays, who partnered with Habitat for Humanity.[132] In 2017, Watson donated his first NFL game check to three cafeteria employees affected by Hurricane Harvey who work at the Houston Texans' NRG Stadium.[133] The total amount donated was around $27,000.[134]

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