Let’s break away from the hubbub in Hoover to focus on Deshaun Watson.
Watson has been cleared to practice for Clemson when the Tigers begin next month.
He partially tore the ACL in his right knee in practice on Nov. 20, two days before Clemson defeated Georgia State.
Watson then played on the injured knee and led the Tigers to a 35-17 victory over South Carolina on Nov. 29, to snap a five-game losing streak to the Gamecocks. He didn’t play in Clemson’s 40-6 victory over Oklahoma in the Russell Athletic Bowl.
Clemson quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter told the Greenville (S.C.) News on Wednesday that Watson has improved his leadership and increased his weight from 190 pounds in 2014 to 210.
“He’s all in. Now it’s his ability to get other guys to do the same things, which he’s done, and be a little more vocal,” Streeter said. “These guys are going to listen to him, and taking that next step in his leadership is critical to our success.”
Coach Dabo Swinney said in February that Watson was ahead of schedule in coming back from the injury.
The sophomore from Gainesville started five of the eight games he played in 2014 and made his collegiate debut in his first game at Georgia.
He threw for 1,466 yards and 14 TDs and two interceptions. Watson also ran for 200 yards and five scores.
Watson missed three games with an injured right and hand and initially hurt his right knee in a 28-6 loss to Georgia Tech on Nov. 15.