Deshaun Watson (born September 14, 1995) is a retired American football quarterback. Watson is best known for his collegiate career at Clemson, where he led the Tigers to back-to-back undefeated regular seasons, No. 1 playoff rankings and ACC Championships, only to lose in the CFP National Championship Game two years in a row. While at Clemson, Watson was a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist, winning the award in 2016 along with the Maxwell and Walter Camp awards. Watson was also a back-to-back ACC Player of the Year, Manning Award winner and Davey O'Brien Award winner.
Watson declared for the 2017 NFL Draft where he was drafted 1st overall by the Cleveland Browns, where he would play from 2017-2022, taking over as starting quarterback halfway through the 2017 campaign and leading the Browns to back-to-back playoff berths in 2018 and 2019. He would lead the Browns back to the playoffs in 2022, losing in the divisional round to the arch-rival and defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers, in a controversial game in which he was knocked unconscious and had his ACL torn on the same play. It would be his last game as a Brown - the Browns traded him to the Los Angeles Rams during free agency after complications with his recovery and amid concerns that he would not be the same player.
Watson responded by leading the Rams to four straight NFC West championships from 2024 to 2027, and was named the NFL Offensive Player of the Year and MVP in 2026 for his 41 touchdown campaign, though the Rams would lose to the Washington Redskins in the NFC Championship Game that year. In 2030, after seven seasons in Los Angeles and two seasons of declining play, Watson left Los Angeles for his hometown team Atlanta Falcons. He would play two seasons, leading the Falcons to Super Bowl LXV in his first season, again earning Offensive Player of the Year and MVP honors, where he would lose again to the Steelers, and took the Falcons back to the NFC Championship Game in his final game the next season, losing to the Dallas Cowboys. Watson announced his retirement at age 36 a few weeks later.
Among other accolades, Watson was inducted into both the Georgia and South Carolina Hall of Fame for his high school, collegiate and professional accomplishments. His number 4 jersey was retired by Clemson in 2017 immediately after his graduation and a statue of Watson was erected in front of Memorial Stadium to commemorate arguably the greatest player in school history. Watson was inducted into the "Ring of Honor" for all three NFL teams he played for and in 2041, as part of a ceremony celebrating the 75th year of play of the Atlanta Falcons franchise, he was named the No. 6 greatest player in Falcons history despite having only played there two years.
- Heisman Trophy Winner: 2016
- Heisman Trophy Finalist: 2015 (3rd Place)
- Maxwell Award Winner: 2016
- Walter Camp Award Winner: 2016
- Davey O'Brien Award Winner (x2): 2015, 2016
- Manning Award Winner (x2): 2015, 2016
- Sports Illustrated Player of the Year: 2016
- AP College Football Player of the Year: 2016
- ACC Player of the Year (x2): 2015, 2016
- ACC Champion (x2): 2015, 2016
- 2015 Orange Bowl Champion
- 2016 Peach Bowl Champion
- Clemson Ring of Honor
- Retired #4 Jersey (Clemson University Tigers)
- AFC Offensive Player of the Month (x7)
- NFL MVP (x2): 2026 (Los Angeles Rams), 2030 (Atlanta Falcons)
- NFL Offensive Player of the Year (x2): 2026 (Los Angeles Rams), 2030 (Atlanta Falcons)
- NFC Champion: 2030
- NFC West Champion (x4): 2024, 2025, 2026, 2027
- NFC South Champion (x2): 2030, 2031