Beasley, Ryan aglow over Clemson and Watson; Jones maybe not so much

CLEMSON, SC - OCTOBER 11: Vic Beasley #3 of the Clemson Tigers reacts after blocking a pass attempt against the Louisville Cardinals during the game at Memorial Stadium on October 11, 2014 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Tyler Smith/Getty Images)

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CLEMSON, SC - OCTOBER 11: Vic Beasley #3 of the Clemson Tigers reacts after blocking a pass attempt against the Louisville Cardinals during the game at Memorial Stadium on October 11, 2014 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Tyler Smith/Getty Images)

Vic Beasley Jr. was a little worse for the wear Tuesday, but the Falcons’ pass-rushing maniac was happy as ever the day after his beloved Clemson Tigers scored with one second left to defeat Alabama 35-31 to win the College Football Playoff national title.

Quarterback Matt Ryan was happy, too, thinking back to when Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson was a Falcons ball boy and, “saved my arm.”

Beasley, who played for Clemson for three seasons before he was drafted in 2015 by the Falcons, stayed up late watching his former team avenge last year’s loss to the Crimson Tide in the national championship game.

“I had a late night last night. I got to sleep like 3, 3 or 4,” he said with a sheepish grin before practice ahead of Saturday’s playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks. “I was so happy I was up all night. I was going to run around the neighborhood, but I thought twice about that.”

Beasley, who led the NFL with 15.5 sacks in the regular season to earn All-Pro honors from his outside linebacker/defensive end positions, watched the game with current and former teammate Grady Jarrett, a defensive lineman who played at Clemson and now plays for the Falcons.

Atlanta All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones, who played for Alabama, was conspicuously absent during media sessions Tuesday after barking loudly on behalf of his former squad Monday as Beasley did media interviews.

Soon after Watson’s game-winning touchdown pass to former walk-on Hunter Renfrow on Monday, Beasley tried to reach Jones.

He’s had more luck getting home to NFL quarterbacks.

Beasley called Jones, “but I didn’t get a pickup,” he said. “I guess it was kind of disappointing, but he said (Tuesday) he was asleep. It’s hard to believe that.”

Ryan recalled Watson’s time shagging balls and helping locker room attendants during the Falcons’ training camp a few years ago. Watson grew up in Gainesville, just a few miles from the team’s headquarters in Flowery Branch.

He has plenty of ties to the organization, as former Falcons running back and current minority owner Warrick Dunn helped stock the Watson family’s home about 10 years ago through his charitable foundation.

“Yeah, for sure. I remember Deshaun being here,” Ryan said. “He’s a great kid, and it was impressive. … I was pulling for him this entire season, and last night for sure. He played extremely well. I’m really happy for him.

“He didn’t say much when he was here; he was quiet and 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.”

Beasley was glowing about Watson, too, after the Tigers won their second national championship and first in 35 years. He texted several former teammates and college coaches.

“I’m still on a high right now,” Beasley said. “I’m exceptionally proud. All the work we put in there, we’re actually seeing it come to fruition. I’m so proud of Deshaun, that team … they did a great job.”