Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said Friday that rising sophomore quarterback Deshaun Watson is "way ahead" on his recovery from knee surgery, according to Larry Williams of TigerIllustrated.com.

Watson did not play in Clemson's 40-6 win over Oklahoma in the Citrus Bowl after undergoing surgery to repair a partially torn ACL. Swinney said in November that Watson played in Clemson's win over rival South Carolina with the injury.

Senior Cole Stoudt began last season as the starting quarterback after beating out Watson in a position battle but lost the job after a strong showing from Watson in a Sept. 20 loss at Florida State. Stoudt started in the bowl win over Oklahoma.

Watson was rated the class of 2014's top dual-threat quarterback by Rivals.com. Over eight games last season, he completed 67.9 percent of his passes for 1,466 yards and 14 touchdowns while adding 200 yards and five scores on the ground.

Last season, Clemson went 10-3 and finished 17th in the final College Football Playoff rankings. SI.com pegged the Tigers at No. 11 in its way-too-early Top 25 for 2015.

• ELLIS: Vandy ready to put 2014 in past

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