CLEMSON – Clemson’s Deshaun Watson has been on a roll of late.
The sophomore quarterback has completed nearly 72 percent of his passes and averaged 303 yards passing per game over the Tigers’ last four games, including a 20-for-30 effort for 383 yards and five touchdowns in Saturday’s 56-41 win at N.C. State.
Watson, the preseason Player of the Year in the Atlantic Coast Conference, certainly has been living up to his billing.
Florida State Coach Jimbo Fisher, whose team faces Clemson Saturday at 3:30 at Memorial Stadium, put it succinctly on Monday during his weekly press conference, concluding that Watson is “a very, very, very, very, very good player.”
Given that, it wasn’t surprising that Watson was named the ACC’s Offensive Back of the Week on Monday by the league office.
The honor, which was Watson’s second such citation this season, comes on the heels of him being named National Offensive Player of the Week by the Walter Camp Foundation on Sunday.
Senior offensive tackle Joe Gore also was among Monday’s honorees when he was named ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week. Gore, of Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina, played all 80 snaps against N.C. State and posted a career-best 91 percent grade. He had three knockdown blocks and did not allow a sack or have a penalty.
Watson’s five touchdown passes on Saturday were to five different receivers. He also ran the ball 14 times for 54 yards and another touchdown.
Such an afternoon of work has become standard for the even-keeled Watson, whom Gore describes as a beacon of composure regardless of the circumstance.
“He sticks out because no matter what the situation is, he’s calm and poised,” Gore said. “He throws an interception, he’s poised, He makes a bad read, he’s still the same Deshaun. He doesn’t let things affect him. It’s good to see, especially in such a young guy. He’s so calm it makes everyone else stay calm.”
Watson’s passing efficiency rating of 238.9 against N.C. State was the best in Clemson history for a single game given a minimum of 30 passes. Watson, who’s 12-1 as a starter over his first two seasons, moved into first place in the ACC and eighth nationally with a 168.3 efficiency rating.
He has 20 touchdown passes this season, which ties him for 10th nationally with former Clemson and current Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly and two others. Despite having made just 13 career starts, Watson already ranks sixth in Clemson history with 34 career touchdown passes.
Saturday’s performance at N.C. State marked the third time that a Clemson quarterback accounted for at least six touchdowns in a game against the Wolfpack. Woody Dantzler had four passing and two rushing touchdowns in 2001 in a Clemson win, then Tajh Boyd had eight touchdowns — five passing and three rushing — in a 2012 win over the Wolfpack.
Watson is the first Clemson player to be honored with a National Player of the Week honor by the Walter Camp Foundation since 2012, when Tajh Boyd won the award for his performance against N.C. State.