Clemson's Dabo Swinney Not Surprised by the Early Success for the Houston Texans Deshaun Watson

Patrick D. Starr

Clemson’s Dabo Swinney was in Houston for the annual Bear Bryant Awards which designates the nation’s top college football coach. Swinney was joined by six other coaches for the prestigious honor which will be awarded for the top coach in 2017.

In his media session, Swinney referred to the Houston Texans as “Clemson West” and was asked about his former player, current Texans quarterback, Deshaun Watson. Swinney gave his thoughts on Watson's strong start to his NFL career.

“What I have seen since the 9th grade, I didn’t seen anything different. I saw him dominate games. I saw him play with unbelievable poise. I saw him make everybody around him better. I saw him make the defense better, make the coaches better. I saw him inspire a community, that’s who he is. That is what he has been since I have met him.”

Swinney remains hopeful that Watson can bring the same success to the Texans that he did to the Tigers program, which was capped off with a national championship in Watson’s final year. Swinney feels the Texans have a quarterback who has used his life experiences to mold himself into the player he is today: a true difference maker on and off the field.

“Champions are born on the inside, before you ever become a champion on the outside, in my opinion,” Swinney said of Watson. “How he thinks, how he is wired, how his life has been shaped, his experiences that he has to draw on, all those things have made him very uncommon. He is very uncommon and very unique. We are proud of him and know he has a lot of great moments ahead.”

The story is known about how Watson’s season ended in 2017 with a non-contact injury in practice, eerily similar to what happened to him his freshman year at Clemson. Swinney has kept in touch with Watson throughout his entire time here in Houston and continues to monitor him through his rehab process, giving him words of encouragement along the way.

“I have been through this with him and, ironically, his freshman year with me, he was having an unbelievable year and just off the charts for a freshman,” Swinney said in reference to Watson tearing his ACL in his right knee during his freshman year at Clemson.

“Non-contact on his other knee, planted and cut,” Swinney said of Watson’s injury. Watson, after his initial ACL injury, played 30 games straight including two national championship games for the Tigers. Swinney is hopeful that Watson going through this as a rookie with the Texans will remind many of how he has been through this before and bounced back.

“That, hopefully, that will give the Texans folks a lot of hope that he will bounce back and get back to working,” Swinney continued. “It was really unfortunate that he got hurt.”

With Watson as an integral piece of the puzzle for the Texans heading into 2018, Swinney knows this is just the beginning for Watson and the Texans.

“Nothing he did surprised me at all,” Swinney remarked. “He just scraped the surface of who he is and what he is going to do.”


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