Clemson University

From Clemson to Houston: Deshaun Watson drafted by Texans

Deshaun Watson explains decision to enter the NFL draft

Clemson QB Deshaun Watson was taken in the NFL Draft's first round by the Houston Texans.
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Clemson QB Deshaun Watson was taken in the NFL Draft's first round by the Houston Texans.

Deshaun Watson is headed to the Lone Star State.

The Clemson quarterback was selected No. 12 overall by the Houston Texans on Thursday night in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Houston traded up to take the pick from Cleveland.

“It was surreal,” Watson said. “I couldn’t really think about anything. I just started crying.”

Watson was the third quarterback drafted. North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky went No. 2 to the Chicago Bears. Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes was taken 10th overall by the Kansas City Chiefs.

“This guy is a winner. I don’t think anyone can argue with that,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said. “When you watch the college tape, there were so many things he did well throughout his career. ... I think he’ll be a great fit in our culture.”

Watson in Houston will be reunited with Clemson teammate and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. He’ll also be a teammate with former South Carolina standouts Jadeveon Clowney and Johnathan Joseph.

The 6-foot-2, 221-pound Watson threw for 4,593 yards and 41 touchdowns last season in leading the Tigers to the national championship. He ran for 626 yards and nine more scores.

“This moment is just a little bit over the national championship,” Watson said. “I am living my dream and can call myself a National Football League player. ... I’m a confident player. I feel like I can do things that a lot of people can’t do. I feel like I can get the job done when needed.”

Houston opens the preseason with a game at the Carolina Panthers.

“A team’s just going to have to believe in his intangibles, his drive to be successful, his maturity, his athleticism, his arm, I think, is adequate to good arm strength, above average arm strength,” ESPN analyst Todd McShay said going into the draft. “And the fact that he has the clutch gene and have a plan for him and a way to develop him so that he can transition properly from that offensive system in college to the NFL and continue to work on his deep accuracy.”

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