It was another happy homecoming for Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson.
The Georgia native was named the Davey O’Brien Award winner, which goes to the best quarterback in the country, for the second consecutive year during the College Football Awards show Thursday night in Atlanta.
Watson beat out Louisville’s Lamar Jackson and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield to become the fourth player to win the Davey O’Brien Award twice.
“It means a lot being able to bring it home and have this joy, and bringing this trophy back to Clemson feels good,” Watson said.
This is a busy week for Watson, who took his last college exam on Wednesday, was in Atlanta for the College Football Awards show Thursday, will be honored for winning the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award in Baltimore on Friday and will be in New York for the Heisman ceremony on Saturday.
Watson said he is taking the week in stride while trying to soak everything in as he finishes up his last season in college football.
“It hasn’t hit me yet because it’s just getting started, but knowing that I’ve finished school, having the opportunity to go to Atlanta again, go to Baltimore, go to New York, just being able to achieve and travel, it’s going to be a fun weekend,” Watson said. “I’m just going to embrace it and appreciate all the moments and take it one day at a time.”
Watson, Jackson and Mayfield will be joined by fellow Heisman finalists Jabrill Peppers of Michigan and Dede Westbrook of Oklahoma at the Heisman ceremony.
Peppers believes Watson should add to his list of awards Saturday in New York.
“It was a close one between him and Lamar, but they had a head-to-head matchup and Deshaun got the win. That was my determining factor,” Peppers said. “I like everything about Deshaun’s game… I think Deshaun started pouring it on late, and his team’s in the College Football Playoff as well. That’s why I think I’d give him the nod.”
Watson has passed for 3,914 yards this season with 37 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He led the Tigers to the ACC title and a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Watson was overshadowed by Jackson for much of the season as the Louisville star put up video-game like numbers, but he played well down the stretch while Jackson and the Cardinals struggled.
Watson had 14 touchdowns and two interceptions in his final three games, while Louisville lost its last two games against Houston and Kentucky.
“I just finished strong for my team,” Watson said. “It’s a good feeling always being able to have your name tossed in the hat with all these awards and especially the Heisman and all these other things and get to travel around and see different places. It’s a lot of emotions but I’m just taking it all in.”
Clemson will face Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl Dec. 31 with the winner facing the winner of Alabama and Washington for the national title.
College Football Award Winners
Walter Camp National Player of the Year: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Maxwell Award (best all-around player): Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award: Deshaun Watson, Clemson
Doak Walker Award (outstanding running back): D’Onte Foreman, Texas
Fred Biletnikoff Award (outstanding receiver): Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma
Chuck Bednarnik Trophy (best defensive player): Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
Outland Trophy (outstanding collegiate interior lineman): Cam Robinson, OL, Alabama
Jim Thorpe Award (best defensive back): Adoree’ Jackson, Southern California
Lou Groza Award (outstanding place-kicker): Zane Gonzalez, Arizona State
Ray Guy Award (best punter): Mitch Wishnowsky, Utah
Sports Spirit Award: James Conner, Pittsburgh
Coach of the Year: Mike MacIntyre, Colorado
NCFAA Contribution to College Football Award: Steve Spurrier