Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson says he is being stereotyped as a run-first quarterback because of his race.
Watson, who finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting last season, said he doesn’t know why the stereotype exists and he wants to be judged by his “talent and the ability to throw the ball, not the color of your skin or your ability to also be a dangerous runner.”
“People think, ‘Oh, he’s a black quarterback, he must be dual-threat.’ People throw around that word all the time. It’s lazy,” Watson said to Bleacher Report. “The one thing I learned early on as a football player is people have their opinions, and I can’t change them. But I can show them what they’re missing.”
Last season, Watson became the first player in college football history throw for more than 4,000 yards and run for 1,000 yards in a single season. He led Clemson to the National Championship Game and was named a first-team All-American by the Associated Press.
Watson is projected to be a top draft pick should he decide to enter the NFL draft after this season. He says NFL personnel shouldn’t worry about his injury history, which includes a torn ACL in his freshman season.
“I think I proved last year that I am durable and can take the punishment,” he said. “I’ve put on about 16 pounds of muscle this offseason, and I’m more prepared than I have ever been to handle the hits.”
Clemson opens its season against Auburn on Sept. 3.
– Scooby Axson