A look at Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson’s best career performances that have made him the frontrunner to win the Heisman Trophy:
Aug. 30, 2014
This was the birth of Watson’s college career. He came off the bench in his first game and recorded his first career completion on a 29-yard pass to Mike Williams. On the next snap, Watson threw a laser into the hands of Charone Peake for a 30-yard touchdown, the first of 49 career passing scores.
Sept. 17, 2015
Watson only threw for 199 yards, and he tossed two interceptions and two touchdowns. His 54 rushing yards on 12 carries, however, proved his surgically repaired knee could hold up as Clemson escaped with a 20-17 road win.
8. N.C. State
Oct. 31, 2015
Watson showed what he could do in a shootout. He accounted for six touchdowns, including five through the air, and started the game with a 24-yard TD run. He threw a 57-yard touchdown followed by a 42-yard bomb to Peake in the first half. He threw second-half TDs of 40, 35 and 36 yards in a 56-41 win.
7. Florida State
Sept. 20, 2014
Watson came off the bench to produce 266 yards on 19-of-28 passing. He took over for Cole Stoudt on the fourth drive of a scoreless game. Watson led Clemson on three scoring drives, including rushing for a 2-yard TD, but the Tigers eventually lost in overtime.
6. Boston College
Oct. 17, 2015
This was the game that jump-started his 2015 Heisman campaign. Watson crushed BC’s top-ranked defense with a season-high 420 yards. He had three passing touchdowns and another score on the ground to lead an offense that had 532 yards.
5. North Carolina
Sept. 27, 2014
In his first career start, Watson torched the Tar Heels for 435 passing yards and six touchdowns, which set a school record. That was one of 11 program marks Watson put in the history books that day, when he completed 27 of 36 passes.
Dec. 31, 2015
Watson had his second-worst completion percentage of the season in Clemson’s first College Football Playoff game, but rushed for a career-high 145 yards and finished with 332 total yards to earn Orange Bowl offensive MVP honors in a 37-17 victory that put the Tigers in the national title game.
3. North Carolina
Dec. 5, 2015
Watson completed 26 of 42 passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-37 ACC championship-winning performance. He added 131 rushing yards and two more scores on the ground to set ACC title game records and was named Most Outstanding Player.
2. South Carolina
Nov. 29, 2014
This game will live on forever in Clemson lore. Not known until after the game, Watson played on a torn ACL, and he completed 73.7 percent of his passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. He rushed for two more touchdowns on his hurt knee to help the Tigers end a five-year drought.
Jan. 11, 2016
Against one of the best defenses ever, Watson had one of the greatest performances by a quarterback in national championship game history. He completed 30 of 47 passes and threw for 405 yards and four touchdowns. While the Tigers came up short in a 45-40 loss, the country took notice of Watson’s talents.
A look at the odds from the Las Vegas Superbook:
1. Deshaun Watson, Clemson QB: 5-1
2. Leonard Fournette, LSU RB: 6-1
3. Christian McCaffrey, Stanford RB: 6-1
4. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma QB: 10-1
5. Dalvin Cook, FSU RB: 12-1