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Clemson Football

Lawrence, Watson rank near the top of ESPN's Top 75 College QBs since 2000

May 22, 2023
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ESPN recently ranked the Top 75 Quarterbacks in college football since 2000 and two Tigers pushed their way to the top of the list. Both Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence were inside the Top 15, according to the article. 

Which quarterbacks would you have in your Top 5? In no particular order, ESPN had Tim Tebow, Cam Newton, Baker Mayfield, Joe Burrow, and Vince Young ahead of Watson, who checks in at No. 6.

No. 6 Deshaun Watson

  • Years: 2014-16
  • Stats: 10,168 passing yards, 67% completion rate, 90 TD, 32 INT, 1,934 rushing yards, 26 TD

Deshaun Watson's time at Clemson University as the quarterback was nothing short of remarkable.  Arriving at Clemson in 2014, Watson wasted no time in showcasing his immense talent and football IQ.

As a freshman, he quickly earned the starting quarterback position and displayed a level of poise and maturity well beyond his years. Watson's ability to read defenses, make accurate throws, and extend plays with his legs made him a nightmare for opposing defenses.

One of the defining moments of Watson's college career came in the 2015 season, when he led the Tigers to an undefeated regular season and a spot in the College Football Playoff. In the national championship game against the Alabama Crimson Tide, Watson delivered a virtuoso performance, throwing for 405 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 73 yards. Despite falling short of victory, Watson's valiant effort solidified his reputation as a big-game performer.

© John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Desuah Watson celebrates Clemson’s game-winning touchdown against Alabama to win the 2016 National Title.

During Watson's junior year, he led the Tigers on a return trip to the national championship game. This time, Clemson would not be denied. In a thrilling rematch against Alabama, Watson orchestrated a game-winning touchdown drive in the final seconds, throwing a perfect pass to Hunter Renfrow to secure the Tigers' first national title in 35 years. Watson's performance in that game was legendary, throwing for 420 yards and accounting for four touchdowns.

Watson’s time as the Tigers' quarterback was a special era, filled with exhilarating moments and unforgettable triumphs. Clemson University will forever be grateful for the indelible mark Deshaun Watson left on its football program, and his legacy will continue to inspire future generations of Tigers.

No. 11 Trevor Lawrence 

  • Years: 2018-20
  • Stats: 10,098 passing yards, 67% completion rate, 90 TD, 17 INT, 18 rushing TD

During his tenure at Clemson University, Trevor Lawrence left an indelible mark on the football program and cemented his status as one of the greatest college quarterbacks ever. With his exceptional skills, poise, and leadership abilities, Lawrence guided the Clemson Tigers to unprecedented success, capturing national championships and earning numerous accolades along the way.

Lawrence burst onto the scene as a freshman in 2018, quickly capturing the attention of football fans nationwide. With his 6-foot-6 stature, golden locks, and powerful arm, he possessed all the physical tools of an elite quarterback. But what truly set Lawrence apart was his ability to remain calm under pressure and make precise, game-changing throws.

© Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Trevor Lawrence races to the endzone against Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl Semifinal Game on December 29, 2019.

Under Lawrence's guidance, the Tigers enjoyed an unparalleled level of success. In his first season, he led Clemson to a perfect 15-0 record, culminating in a dominant performance in the College Football Playoff National Championship game against the Alabama Crimson Tide. Lawrence's poise and accuracy were on full display as he threw for 347 yards and three touchdowns, securing a resounding 44-16 victory and Clemson's second national title in three seasons. 

Lawrence's sophomore and junior seasons were equally impressive. He displayed remarkable consistency and efficiency, leading the Tigers to two more playoff appearances and an ACC championship. Lawrence's reputation grew with each passing game, and he solidified himself as the face of college football.

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Lawrence, Watson rank near the top of ESPN's Top 75 College QBs since 2000

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