By STEPHEN HAWKINS , AP Sports Writer
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Deshaun Watson is trying to approach everything leading to the NFL draft as having fun and enjoying the process while preparing for another once-in-a-lifetime moment.
Having accomplished his goal of a national championship at Clemson, the dual-threat quarterback said he is now working hard preparing for the draft. The next step is the NFL combine, where he anticipates being a full participant.
“That’s the plan,” Watson said Monday. “Run, throw, meetings, everything.”
Six weeks after his last-second touchdown pass pushed Clemson past Alabama 35-31 in the College Football Playoff title game, Watson was presented his second consecutive Davey O’Brien Award as the nation’s top quarterback.
When Watson was in downtown Fort Worth a year ago to pick up his first O’Brien trophy, only weeks after a 45-40 loss in the CFP title game to Alabama, the quarterback said his main goals in the next year were to complete his communications degree at Clemson and win a championship.
Both of those goals have been accomplished.
“It’s big, it’s huge, it’s life-changing,” Watson said of helping Clemson win its first national title since 1981. “Your whole life is on another stage, another level.”
Watson passed for 4,593 yards and 41 touchdowns to go with 629 yards and nine touchdowns rushing during the championship season. In three seasons at Clemson, he threw for 10,168 yards and 90 TDs.
The first repeat winner of the O’Brien since Oklahoma’s Jason White in 2003 and 2004, Watson also won the Manning, Johnny Unitas and Bobby Bowden awards, and was a Heisman Trophy finalist.
The NFL’s scouting combine begins next week in Indianapolis, and then he will also have a pro day before the NFL draft in April. Watson said his emphasis is adjusting to the different terminology of the pro game, learning how to be a professional and being more technically sound at the quarterback position.
Most early projections have Watson getting drafted in the first round.
“I’m hearing that. First round, anywhere in that range, top 10, top five, just depends on what the teams say,” said Watson, who is listed at 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds.
“It’s something I can’t control. I just make sure I can control what I can control. Stay positive,” he said. “The height is the height. This is how God made me. My hands are this size. I can’t really control that. . I can put on weight and be able to go out there and throw and run and talk in the interviews and my knowledge. But outside of physical and body, that’s it.”
NOTES: Super Bowl-winning quarterback Jim McMahon was the Davey O’Brien Legends Award recipient Monday night. He won the first O’Brien national quarterback award in 1981 while at BYU. He became the first player to be honored by the O’Brien Foundation as a collegian and then again following a professional career. McMahon has missed the award ceremony only twice in 35 years.
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