Clemson QB Deshaun Watson stars in academics and athletics

Deshaun Watson starred in  academics and athletics as freshman (Dawson Powers/

Deshaun Watson starred in academics and athletics as freshman (Dawson Powers/

Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, who was the state of Georgia’s most prolific QB prospect since Cam Newton, is ahead of schedule with his recovery from knee surgery.

The former Gainesville High School standout played in eight games for Clemson this past season as a true freshman, and he led the nation in passing efficiency — despite missing four games due to injuries.

Watson is rapidly recovering from ACL surgery in December. And he got more good news last week by being named to the 2014 All-ACC Academic football team after posting a 4.0 GPA last fall.

“He’s doing great,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney told the AJC. “If you know anything about Deshaun Watson, you would expect nothing less, other than to hear he’s way ahead of schedule.

“They have measurables as far as things that they look for with where a guy should be at certain checkpoints (with his recovery). He just beats all those checkpoints. That’s just how he’s wired. Genetically, he’s blessed. His DNA and his work ethic … he’s just wired in a special way.

“So he’s doing great with his rehab, and yes, he made a 4.0 in the fall, which tells you the type of focus he has. Here’s a guy playing quarterback at this level as a true freshman. There are all the distractions, plus he had an injury. All that stuff, yet he is still able to prioritize and maintain his focus to make a 4.0. He made over a 3.0 his first semester (after enrolling early).

“He’s just a special guy in every regard … He came in here focused, and he has gotten off to a great start to his college career.”

Last season, Watson completed 93 of 137 passes (67.9 percent) for 1,466 yards and 14 touchdowns, including six touchdowns against North Carolina. Watson was only intercepted twice, and posted an efficiency rating of 188.6.

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