PHOENIX — Deshaun Watson validated Kirby Smart’s earlier statement that Smart recruited him hard to come to Alabama. And he also validated the notion that he probably wouldn’t have gone to Georgia even had Smart been there.
“I remember Kirby; I remember Nick Saban, too,” Clemson’s star quarterback said at the College Football Playoff championship Media Day Saturday at the Phoenix Convention Center. “We had a good relationship and they recruited me hard. I went down there and visited sometimes and we talked every once in a while when we had a chance. But, you know, my heart told me to go to Clemson and that’s where I wanted to be and I felt comfortable at. It was nothing against them. We had a great relationship.”
Watson also confirmed that Georgia recruited him hard. UGA is located just 40 minutes from his home in Gainesville. But he had committed to Clemson as a sophomore and said he never wavered a bit. And he was feeling like it was a pretty good decision as the starting quarterback for the No. 1-ranked and undefeated Tigers (14-0).
But he said he’s always had a special place for Smart, who will take over as the Bulldogs’ head coach full-time on Tuesday.
“I’m a fan of his and best of luck to him, especially at Georgia,” Watson said. “And to Nick Saban, too.”
Watson is decidedly more measured nowadays about the Bulldogs’ initial recruiting assessment of him than he once was. In 2012, when he was still just a Clemson commitment, he took a shot at then-UGA quarterbacks coach Mike Bobo via Twitter.
“It’s funny how Mike Bobo don’t think I’m good enough to play at Georgia. Lol,” he tweeted on Dec. 4, 2012.