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Wednesday June 1st, 2016 4:06AM

Former GHS QB Watson impresses in Clemson debut

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter
ATHENS -- Since the day Deshaun Watson announced he was taking his football prowess to Clemson, the tall, lanky former Gainesville High quarterback dreamed of the day when he would be able to lead his team into the end zone and a victory.<br /> <br /> Well, one-half of the dream came true Saturday. The other will have to go into his bucket list.<br /> <br /> Watson saw his first collegiate action as a Tiger when he came on late in the first quarter against Georgia at Sanford Stadium. He engineered an efficient 78-yard, six-play drive that started with a patented Watson scramble for an 8-yard gain and ended with a beautiful 30-yard touchdown pass to Charone Peake to tie the game for Clemson.<br /> <br /> While the eventual outcome -- a 45-21 Georgia win -- left a sour taste in his mouth, he couldn't help but smile when asked about getting his first opportunity under center for the Tigers.<br /> <br /> "It felt great," he said with a huge grin. "They told me I would get a shot and to just wait for my time. I did not know when I would go in. The coaches just said to go with the flow and I did.<br /> <br /> "It has been a dream of mine since the day I committed to come in and lead us to a touchdown and throw a touchdown pass. That first drive was special. I just tried to take advantage of my opportunity."<br /> <br /> Watson played just the one series in the first half, which ended with the two teams tied at 21 after a 100-yard Todd Gurley kickoff return midway through the second quarter.<br /> <br /> He got into two series in the second half, though by that time the Georgia defense had taken control of the game. He did not complete a pass and was sacked twice in those final two drives. Watson finished 2-for-4 passing for 59 yards and had five rushes for 13 yards in his first game action.<br /> <br /> Clemson coach Dabo Swinny had praise for his quarterback-of-the-future.<br /> <br /> "That was good experience for his first game," Sweeny said. "That was a great first drive of his career. We want to give him some experience and the plan is to play him. The last two drives our line did not give him a chance."<br /> <br /> While the overall experience may not have lived up to his dream as a whole, Watson was more than pleased with how the current phase of life began.<br /> <br /> "I always want to score so to not do that those other drives was disappointing," he said. "But it was fun getting into the game and I'm ready to go for the next one. My goal is just to try and get better and do what the coaches want me to do."
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