Thursday January 7th, 2016

Alabama had a great deal of interest in Clemson’s Deshaun Watson when the quarterback was a high school recruit.

During a press conference Wednesday in the run-up to Monday’s national championship game, Alabama defensive coordinator and incoming Georgia head coach Kirby Smart discussed Watson and his brief history with the Crimson Tide.

“We wanted him; we wanted him bad,” Smart told reporters. “I can’t remember who the offensive coordinator was when he came out, but I think we were in a changeover somewhat…But we offered him and thought a lot of him, thought very highly of him.”

Watson is a native of Gainesville, Ga., about 45 minutes from Athens, where Smart is set to become head coach. He came in third place in the Heisman voting and has thrown for 3,699 yards, 31 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in his sophomore season. Smart was also asked how hard he would have recruited Watson had he been at Georgia earlier on.

“I think you always go after in-state kids that are that talented,” Smart said. “He’s certainly a talented player and certainly a difference-maker. He’s made a difference in Clemson’s program for sure.”

The No. 2 Crimson Tide play the No. 1 Tigers for the title Monday night at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Jeremy Woo

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