A lot of questions have been asked about what is going on with DeShaun Watson and where do the Tigers stand so I thought I would weight in. My purpose in posting this is not to draw more attention to the story--it seems to be thankfully dieing out (unless someone produces a smoking gun photo of Watson physically in Auburn, which someone would most likely have done already if it existed), but to alert the Clemson fanbase to lace it up and prepare for the long haul.
We are committed to Watson. We made this choice when we recruited and signed only one QB in the previous class with Chad Kelly and one here in this class with DeShaun Watson. We don't have a choice in this recruitment which means there is no 'I don't want him if he isn't completely honest' or 'we should just dump him' kind of stupid talk. Strip it from your vocabulary when it comes to Watson.
There is no real back-up plan and pretty much the entire offensive class is linked to Watson (hopefully one more on the defensive side as well). You lose Watson and this class will be shaken in a way that would be unprecedented here at Clemson. I also want to emphasize that this is the #1 QB in all the nation. I don't even think it is that close either. I think the Elite 11 camp will just make that more obvious for national pundits.
So what is the situation? It was 'Big Cat' weekend in Auburn and the Rivals mod for the Auburn site claims he saw Watson. The 24/7 Auburn guy either corroborated the story or was just attaching himself to the Auburn Rivals guy. Watson posts to Twitter that he is not there this weekend but those tweets apparently got deleted and it seemed pretty weird/fishy. Often with these kinds of things where there is smoke there is fire. But there are also a lot of businesses that like to stir up controversy because that brings in the hits and money. There is also a bizarre claim that his estranged dad has popped up and was part of bringing Watson to Auburn (to my knowledge he has never had much of any contact with his father his entire life!).
But you know what? Who cares.
Watson's coach comes out and says he talked to Watson and he says he wasn't there and then Watson repeats this to Bartow at TI. I have yet to talk to the coach or Watson and I have no personal inside information from anyone at Auburn about the situation (just don't have contacts that way). I do know that Watson is still actively recruiting for us. He is obviously going to be instrumental in the recruitment/commitment of Kitt and will be a major player in persuading other WR's. It just makes sense that you would want to play with the number one QB in the nation. Trey Quinn is going to be camping at Clemson hopefully and I am sure that the two will continue to develop a connection. I know that the coaching staff isn't freaking out about this. Is it alright to want to know what is going on--sure, but always with the understanding that our wagon is hitched to the situation. I saw many Clemson fans directly messaging Watson like he was personally accountable to our 'All in' policy to everyday fans--like he was on trial. I understand that social media complicates these fan/player relationships but I just can't see how that kind of direct interrogation helps build a positive relationship with our fanbase.
Was this a game of semantics where Watson was saying he wasn't there over the weekend? Is this a white lie (the kind I constantly told as a 17 year old) that got away from Watson? We know that no one questions the kids character--no one should question the kids character. He is committed to Clemson so Clemson fans just need to go to bat for him. Without pictures or proof, this could be someone affiliated with Auburn trolling and trying to stir up some controversy.
We already know what kind of snake-oil salesman Auburn recruiters are after the Lawson and Adams debacles--so lets just defend Watson and protect him like he is one of our own. Could he have a legit interest in Auburn?? It's possible with Gus at the helm and the Cam Newton comparisons/payments but lets not give them an inch by playing the blame game. If we didn't have the 'All In' motto then this wouldn't be nearly as big a deal. Watson has publicly stated he is 100% committed to Clemson and that is what we should be focused on publicly.
Like I said--it is going to be a bumpy ride and part of winning in the fall and winning on signing day is not freaking out and alienating your future at QB.
Hat tip to DorchesterCat for this ESPN Kipp Adams link in the comments which basically says that indeed Watson was at Auburn but thought it was a mistake. Once he got there he realized it was a mistake and on top of that said it was no big shakes. Good enough for my book. Again, who cares--let that breach of trust be between him and his high school coaches and Dabo. Fans shouldn't respond negatively and let this turn into cracks in the mortar. He is committed to Clemson--lets support him and treat him like the bedrock and cornerstone of our class. (the below video should scare away any recruit)