Deshaun Watson has garnered plenty of fans over the years, from winning a national college football championship to breaking NFL records as a passer. On Saturday, he'll face Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians, who has admired him for years, but never coached against him until now.
"He's just amazing; he's one of my favorite players," Arians said. "Everything that he can do that's designed, but then when he gets into backyard football, he's the best there is I think right now, he and Russell Wilson, when they start creating stuff. He's a magical player."
The two got to know each other during Watson's collegiate career at Clemson University. Arians, head coach of the Arizona Cardinals at the time, had the same agent as Clemson's head coach, Dabo Swinney. Watson recalls Arians coming to watch him in both of his Fiesta Bowl games and at the National Championship game.
When he heard about Arian's high praise and comparison to the seven-time Pro Bowler, Watson was flattered.
"He (Arians) has always been a fan of mine, I've always been a fan of his and we communicated," Watson said. "That's pretty dope from a legendary coach like him. It gives me a lot of confidence and a lot of momentum and motivation to keep striving to be great."
As for the comparison with Wilson, Watson's third-year numbers aren't far off from the Seahawks' Super Bowl winning quarterback through 14 games this year. Wilson, now in his eighth season, has thrown for 3,708 yards, 28 touchdowns, 5 interceptions and is completing 67.4 percent of his passes. He has also added 311 yards rushing and scored three rushing touchdowns. Watson has thrown for 3,668 yards, 26 touchdowns, 11 interceptions and is completing 67.8 percent of his passes. Watson has also rushed for 376 yards and scored seven touchdowns on the ground.
"He's got that deep ball like Russell," Arians said. "When he scrambles he's not looking to run, he's looking to fire that thing deep, and they've got those three fast guys that are always going deep. But then he can also beat you with his legs in the zone read and those things. Of the guys I've seen the most of, I would have to compare him to Russell."
The (9-5) Texans will travel to Raymond James Stadium to face the (7-7) Buccaneers on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 12 noon CT on FOX-26, NFL Network and SportsRadio 610.