Deshaun Watson has been hailed as a preseason Heisman Trophy candidate. And Clemson has been hailed as the ACC Atlantic frontrunner.
Much of that, though, is contingent on Watson's health. But the fact the sophomore has generated so much hype despite playing just three games from start to finish speaks to his massive talent.
USA Today's Dan Wolken looks at Watson's comeback, showing the initial doubts Dabo Swinney had about playing Watson on a torn ACL against South Carolina, the determination Watson had about playing and the second-guessing former offensive coordinator Chad Morris had about taking the SMU head-coaching job because of what he was leaving behind.
"Watching Clemson lose five straight times to South Carolina, playing in that game was something I wanted to do," Watson told Wolken.
"My high school coach was a big Clemson fan and I told him, as long as I'm the starting quarterback here, I'm not going to lose to South Carolina. It's a big rivalry. Who wouldn't want to play in that game? It was a family decision. They put it on me, and it's what I wanted to do. Of course people say I have a future down the road [to protect], but I live in the moment and that moment was then and I wanted to play."
Watson's left ACL, it turned out, was already partially torn upon entering college, something neither he nor Clemson knew. But the former five-star prospect has attacked his rehab without fear, and he insists he will play this fall the same way he has in the past.