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Friday, February 8, 2013
Clemson QB commit targeted by UGA

By Radi Nabulsi

With the 2013 recruiting class wrapped up it would appear that the Georgia coaches can finally start focusing on the Class of 2014. Except that is not how it works. The Bulldogs’ coaching staff has already spent many hours analyzing and evaluating this year’s high school juniors. In fact over 40 offers have been extended to 13 different positions. But Mark Richt has only extended one offer to a quarterback, and there is no question that the Bulldogs’ head coach wants his man.

But does Deshaun Watson (Gainesville, Ga./Gainesville), a Clemson commit, want anything to do with the Bulldogs?

It sure did not appear that way a couple months ago when Watson took to Twitter to question Georgia’s quarterback coach Mike Bobo.

It's funny how Mike Bobo don't think I'm good enough to play at Georgia. Lol

— Deshaun Watson+/ (@ShaunWatson4) December 4, 2012

“In December my coach told me that they weren’t going to offer me and they were looking at someone else,” Watson said. “And then they told me a lot of people were saying that I wasn’t good enough to play there I guess. I wasn’t taking a shot at Mike Bobo. And then after awhile he kept coming by the school evaluating me and looking at my film.”

A month later Watson had a Georgia offer.

Deshaun Watson
Deshaun Watson is open to talking to UGA despite his Clemson commitment.
“Mike Bobo came to my basketball game and my coach said that every five minutes Mark Richt would call Bobo to say that, ‘DeShaun Watson is the real deal,’ ” Watson said. “The whole coaching staff was watching my state championship game because they never got to see it while Bobo was at my basketball game. After that Bobo just talked to me every day, and he’d write me on Facebook and email me. I’d call him once a week and we just got in a good relationship.”

Watson received the offer on a trip to Athens from Richt himself.

“It was exciting and I went up there and got to talk to Mark Richt and he gave it to me,” Watson said. “He told me I had an offer and they were going to be real interested in me and would be recruiting me hard. It just felt good to get that. It was a weight off my shoulders.”

Gainesville, Ga., is full of Bulldogs fans and many want to see their star prep player suit up for Georgia. Watson led the Red Elephants to their first ever state football title. He broke the state of Georgia record for career passing yards in the state championship game -- as a junior.

“Everyone was asking everywhere I’d go, ‘Has Georgia offered?’ or ‘Will they offer?’ or things like that,” Watson said. “I just knew that if they were interested in me they’d offer. I guess after they evaluated me that they were interested enough to offer. It was great timing and an exciting moment.”

The timing of the offer has been debated endlessly on message boards and recruiting forums. Georgia has been known to offer late and with Watson’s record-breaking credentials, many fans could not understand what the holdup was. Clemson offered Watson after his sophomore season, and he committed in February 2012. After being pledged to the Tigers for over a year, did the Georgia offer come too late?

“I don’t think any school’s late to the party and you know anything can happen in 12 months,” Watson said. “Even though I’m going to graduate early, in the short amount of time I have left in recruiting anything can happen: someone can go pro or coaches can change or I could fall in love with a place if I go on a visit. They’re not late for the party. I’m going to give them a shot at recruiting me and go from there.”

Speaking of visits, Watson somehow keeps finding reasons to be in Athens more weekends than not lately.

“I went down the week they offered,” Watson said. “Then I went down because a lot of baseball players from my school went to Georgia to play baseball so I hang out with them too. Then one of my friends, her name is Sara Hayes, she had tickets to the gymnastics meet, so we went to watch it.”

Being in Athens is not the same as being on a recruiting trip so when Watson does return to the athletic association offices, the Georgia coaches will try to sell him on playing between the hedges. The Bulldogs now have four quarterbacks on scholarship, not including senior Aaron Murray, but Watson appears undaunted by the roster numbers.

“I’m going to look at the roster and beyond that,” Watson said. “I don’t really go for the depth chart. I’ve seen a lot of guys as freshmen come in where they have five quarterbacks and their starting guy’s knee goes bad. And that freshman can come in and beat everyone out. I have confidence in myself that I can come in and start early and learn offense and compete in the spring.”