Deshaun Watson just won his first-ever national title by beating No. 1 Alabama, 35-31, in dramatic fashion with a thrilling last-second touchdown throw. What you might not know about Watson, a native of Gainesville, Ga., is that when he was younger, he used to be a ball boy for the Atlanta Falcons. On Tuesday after Clemson’s victory, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan talked about Watson’s days as a ball boy, and added that he saved his arm during practice.
"Yeah, for sure, I remember Deshaun being here," Ryan said Tuesday. "He's a great kid. It was impressive. I was pulling for him this entire season. Last night, for sure, he played extremely well. So I'm really happy for him.
"He didn't say much when he was here. He was quiet. He kind of went about his business. He was good for me, though, because he saved my arm a little bit. He would throw to our wideouts during camp and give me a little bit of a rest. I always appreciated that from him."
Former Falcons wide receiver Roddy White also talked about what he remembered about Watson’s days as a ball boy.
"Yeah, he used to throw us the ball all the time, and I used to tease him about going to Clemson," said White, a South Carolina native, via ESPN. "But he used to say he was going to change the culture back then, and he was a junior in high school. He was always a cool, laid-back kid. He deserves everything he has accomplished, because he is an awesome person all the way around, on and off the field."
White added some thoughts on Watson’s NFL Draft stock, as the quarterback announced he would be entering the draft late Monday evening.
"Me, personally, I think he should be the first player off the board," White said. "And he will win a lot of games in the NFL because he is smart and he is a good athlete. He makes good decisions."
Watson has another interesting and unique connection to a different, now-retired, NFL star: Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons running back Warrick Dunn. Dunn, after retiring, established the Warrick Dunn Charities foundation, with the goal of providing affordable housing for families in need. Dunn was able to surprise the Watson family, along with Deshaun’s mother Deann and his three siblings, with a furnished home back in 2006.
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
Seeing what Watson is able to do in the NFL is definitely something we can all look forward to.