Clemson legend Deshaun Watson on Trevor Lawrence: 'There's no limit to his potential'

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SANTA CLARA, Calif – Deshaun Watson stood up against a wall in the entryway to the Clemson locker room late Monday night, a purple hood pulled over his head and celebratory confetti at his feet. Watson flew out here to watch his alma mater win the national championship, 44-16, and also witnessed the passing of the torch from one iconic Clemson quarterback to the next.

Watson, who just finished his second season with the Houston Texans, gushed about the performance and potential of 19-year-old true freshman Trevor Lawrence. Watson watched him deliver a scintillating performance in leading Clemson to its second national title in the last three seasons. “There’s no limit to his potential,” Watson told Yahoo Sports. “The sky is past the limit.”

Lawrence won the offensive MVP after a 20-for-32 passing performance for three touchdowns and 347 yards. The numbers actually could have been much bigger considering the tenor of the game, as Clemson’s offense went into safe mode for the fourth quarter because they led by so many points.

Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins of the Houston Texans look on prior to the CFP National Championship between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Clemson Tigers. (Getty Images)
Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins of the Houston Texans look on prior to the CFP National Championship between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Clemson Tigers. (Getty Images)

The last time Clemson got a win on this stage, Watson played one of the most dynamic games in college football this century. He completed 36-of-56 passes for 420 yards and three touchdowns. He rushed for another touchdown. That game, of course, was won with six seconds left when Watson found Hunter Renfrow for the game-winning touchdown, sealing the 35-31 victory.

This time around, Watson was rooting on the sideline and raved about Lawrence’s future.

“He’s special,” Watson told Yahoo Sports. “He did everything you need to do capitalize and get this ‘W.'”

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The victory was sweet for Watson for myriad reasons. He complimented Clemson’s coaching staff, which has the same core of offensive coaches they did during his title season in 2016. That includes quarterback coach Brandon Streeter and co-offensive coordinators Tony Elliott and Jeff Scott. While the system has evolved to suit Lawrence’s strengths – he lacks Watson’s dual-threat ability – Watson sees a lot of carryover.

“The coaches here believe in what they’re teaching the young guys and what they taught me when I was there,” he said. “They teach them the right way.”

And like the rest of us, Watson left the night watching Lawrence’s cannon arm, laser accuracy and veteran poise and wondered what will come next.

“Confidence, composure and to be able to be calm in all situations and focus on the main thing,” he said when asked what traits stood out. “He’s just got to continue to get better each and every year and stay focused on the main thing and keep life and football simple and he’ll be just fine.”

More CFP title game coverage from Yahoo Sports:
Clemson trounces Alabama to win national championship
Thamel: Trevor Lawrence’s ascendance complete with title showcase
Imagine Dragons gets roasted after halftime show
Biggest plays in Clemson’s national championship win over Alabama