Gainesville High School quarterback DeShaun Watson knows his life is about to change after Wednesday’s signing day.
And he’s not signing any papers.
The record-breaking junior is one of the nation’s top prospects for 2014.
When this week’s theatrics are finished with the high school seniors, the eyes of college coaches and the recruiting world will shift to an elite junior crop led by Watson.
Watson, in the same cool and calm demeanor he possessed while leading Gainesville to the state championship last season, doesn’t seem fazed by storm of attention that is about engulf him.
“I think I’m ready for everything,” Watson said. “I know it’s going to get crazier after the 2013 class signs, and after the colleges get done with this week. I’m think I’m ready for the challenges that come with all of this. I’ve got to find out which school is best for me.”
Signing day is already a special day for the 6-foot-4, 200-pounder. Last year as a sophomore, Watson impulsively committed to Clemson on signing day. It was an emotional lift for Clemson, which was shut out in Georgia on 2012 targets. This year, Clemson will sign at least two from the state.
While Watson remains committed to Clemson, he is still checking out other schools. And other schools are checking out him: Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher and Georgia’s Mark Richt all made January trips to the phenom’s school.
The state maybe has never produced a quarterback out of high school like Watson. With one more season to play at Gainesville, Watson is the state’s leader in career passing yards (9,360), all-purpose touchdowns (155) and passing touchdowns (108).
The biggest quarterback name out of Georgia in the past decade is Cam Newton, who reached five-star status at Westlake High in 2007.
Veteran Gainesville coach Bruce Miller said his prized pupil reminds him of another quarterback he saw on TV on Sunday.
“I was watching Colin Kaepernick in the Super Bowl, and that could be DeShaun in six to seven years,” Miller said. “He may not be quite as fast as Colin yet. But DeShaun has all the tools.
“And one thing, for a quarterback, DeShaun does not mind working out in the weight room. A lot of quarterbacks do not like the weight room, but DeShaun likes being in there, and I think that’s going to enable him to get a lot bigger and a lot stronger.”
Watson may need the strength to hold off college scouts over the next year. He plans to visit Ohio State, Oregon, Auburn, Tennessee, LSU, FSU and USC in the next several months.
“I’m with Clemson. I just want to make sure that Clemson is the right place,” Watson explained. “I don’t want to go out, just commit to Clemson, and another place is probably better for me. I want to make sure I make the right choice for me. That’s going to be my future.”
When Watson committed to Clemson, it was under a promise from the Tigers that they wouldn’t sign a quarterback in this year’s class. However, Clemson had a change of plans because of a sudden lack of depth at the position. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney personally explained the situation to Watson.
“I told Clemson that it was fine with me,” Watson said. “I told them to do what’s best for the program. It’s not all about me. I’m not going to be selfish.”
A week after a pair of unimpressive losses, Georgia Tech regained a bit of its footing. The Yellow Jackets delivered an emphatic 87-57 thrashing of East Tennessee State on Saturday afternoon at McCamish Pavilion to head into their final exam week on an up note.