Clemson quarterback and soon-to-be NFL first-round draft pick Deshaun Watson’s upbringing came with assistance from none other than former NFL running back Warrick Dunn.
Dunn played 12 years in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons, and after retiring, he established the Warrick Dunn Charities foundation. The foundation’s goal was to provide affordable housing for families in need. Dunn’s motive was that he lost his own mother when he was 18.
Watson, along with his mother Deann and three siblings, lived in a small, cramped apartment in Gainesville, Ga. Deshaun brought home a Habitat for Humanity note one day that gave steps to home ownership, which Deann pursued. She spent over 300 hours helping build new houses before they could move into one of their own.
Through his foundation, Dunn was able to surprise the Watson family with a furnished home with four bedrooms, two baths, and even a full refrigerator.
Warrick Dunn giving the Watson family the keys to their house in 2006. Deshaun Watson in black sweatshirt on the right. pic.twitter.com/UjGlcIhlkT— HAPPY MOO YEAR (@edsbs) January 10, 2017
"I felt grown having my own room," Watson told the Associated Press. "Just having my own bed, not really being squished, not really worrying about someone sneaking up on me, it was a great moment, a special moment."
It’s something Dunn loves to help people with, especially when the effort is put in. "We're helping people who are helping themselves," Dunn said. "It's crazy how much pride people have when it's something they work for and not something they're given."
Dunn might not have known that Deshaun would become a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist and national champion, but it shows the impact can be even greater than imagined.