Deshaun Watson declares for 2017 NFL Draft after Clemson wins title

By The Sports Xchange   |   Updated Jan. 10, 2017 at 12:13 PM
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With a national championship trophy in tow, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson is ready to take his game to the next level.

After leading the Tigers to a thrilling 35-31 win over Alabama in the College Football Playoff Championship Game on Monday night, Watson announced he will forgo his senior season at Clemson and enter the 2017 NFL Draft.

"It's my time to go," said Watson, who was named the game's offensive MVP after completing 36 of 56 passes for 420 yards and three touchdowns while adding 43 yards and another score on the ground to account for 463 total yards.

Watson delivered the go-ahead score with one second remaining on a two-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow, sealing Clemson's first national championship victory since 1981.

Clemson lost a 45-40 shootout with Alabama in last year's title game.

Watson became the first Heisman Trophy runner-up at the quarterback position to win a national championship since Vince Young led Texas to a 41-38 victory over USC in the 2006 Rose Bowl.

The 21-year-old native of Gainesville, Ga. threw for a career-high 4,593 yards and 41 touchdowns in 2016, adding 624 rushing yards and nine rushing scores. He was awarded the 2016 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award honoring the nation's top senior or fourth-year quarterback.

Watson finishes his three-year college career with 10,168 passing yards and 90 touchdowns along with 1,929 yards and 26 scores on the ground.

According to NFLDraftScout.com, Watson is the second-ranked quarterback in the 2017 draft class behind only North Carolina's Mitch Trubisky.

"Whoever picks me up is (going to) get a champion, not just on the field, but off the field, and just a champion at heart who'll make people around him better," Watson told ESPN's SportsCenter after the game.

The Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers have the top two picks in the upcoming draft and are both expected to be in the market for a quarterback.

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