Clemson QB Deshaun Watson: 'I'm the best player in the country'

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Monday, December 19, 2016

Clemsonquarterback Deshaun Watson believes he is the best player in the country no matter what the Heisman Trophy voters say.

"I'm the best player in the country. That's how I think. That's how I feel. People have their own way of voting," Watson said Monday as Clemson wraps up its first week of practice before playingOhio State.

Watson finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting toLouisvillequarterbackLamar Jackson. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney agrees with Watson that he should have won the Heisman Trophy, saying Heisman voters likely were numbed by Watson's amazing play over three years.

Watson, his coach and his teammates think the voters for the Heisman and the all-conference teams got it wrong when it comes to the Clemons quarterback.

Jackson also knocked Watson out of first-team Atlantic Coast Conference quarterback honors as well -- two disappointing blows to a driven competitor like Watson.

Watson's 2016 stats are similar to his 2015 numbers in almost every category. He has thrown two more interceptions in two fewer games, but he also has thrown just four fewer passes so far this year than in 2015 for the Tigers (12-1).

Swinney said the Heisman Trophy has been watered down as voters get swayed by the player who suddenly bursts on the scene and misses out on players like Watson, who are consistently good over a career.

"I think Deshaun is so good, people are numb to it," Swinney said.

Both Watson and Swinney say they aren't knocking Jackson's talent and they understand how he won. But unlike Jackson, who only has the Citrus Bowl against LSU left before his season ends, Watson hopes to be play two more games and achieve his ultimate goal when arriving Clemson from Gainesville, Georgia.

"You could put the national championship trophy and the Heisman, he wouldn't think twice about which one to pick," Swinney said.

While the voters might have rejected Watson, the people who know football will validate his talent when he enters the NFL draft, Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott said.

"As soon as this season is over, the scouts, GMs, head coaches and offensive coordinators will start speaking with Deshaun and he is going to go straight back to the top," Scott said.

Swinney said Watson showed his leadership by taking full advantage of the experience of being a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist without letting the third-place finish in 2015 and the second-place finish in 2016 get to him.

"I'm sure he's disappointed. But he hasn't expressed that at all," Swinney said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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