Clemson coach Dabo Swinney explains the importance of community service
Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson has received numerous awards for his accomplishments on the football field. Tuesday, he was recognized for his work off of it.
Watson was honored as one of 12 FBS athletes named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team before Clemson’s football team worked on a community service project with Habitat for Humanity in Greenville.
Coach Dabo Swinney and more than 100 Clemson players, including Watson, worked in the Grace Point neighborhood, assisting with the construction of two houses, building fencing and performing landscaping.
“I think to be an All-American in football, you have to be a great football player. To win the Heisman, you had better be a great football player. But to get on this team and to win that award, you had better be a great human being who just happens to be a good football player,” Swinney said of Watson. “That is what he is the epitome of. I tell people all the time, this is a great human being that just happens to be a great quarterback.”
Watson grew up in a Habitat home and is an active volunteer with Habitat for Humanity in Anderson. He regularly speaks on behalf of the organization to raise awareness and generate volunteers in an effort to provide shelter and housing to underprivileged youth in low-incoming, government housing.
“I don’t do it for the popularity. I just do it out of the kindness of my heart and to be able to serve others, use my platform not just for me and my family, but to help others and inspire people to be able to do things so they can be able to fulfill their dreams and goals,” Watson said.
One of the Habitat homes being built in Grace Point will have Watson’s name attached to it as it’s being built in his honor.
“It’s a blessing. It’s an honor just to be able to know that my name is a part of it and it can lead onto greater things in more generations,” Watson said.
Participating in community service projects is something Clemson has consistently done during bye weeks since Swinney became the coach in 2008.
His second week on the job was a bye week and the Tigers went to a hospital in Greenville, a move Swinney said he took some heat for because Clemson wasn’t on the practice field.
“The message was we’re practicing today. This is as important a practice as we’ll have out there on that field,” Swinney said. “We’re practicing for life. … We try to make sure that we provide these opportunities for our players to grow and to be exposed to giving.”