Deshaun Watson has made so much history the last three seasons at Clemson that it’s difficult to know where to begin the conversation.
Along with leading the Tigers to back-to-back College Football Playoff appearances, Watson is the first player in ACC history to finish in the top three in Heisman voting on two separate occasions.
Florida State’s Jameis Winston came in sixth in the Heisman voting in 2014, the year after he won the award in 2013. Winston joined fellow FSU quarterbacks Charlie Ward (1993) and Chris Weinke (2000) as the third ACC player to win college football’s top individual award.
Winston and fellow Seminoles Ward, Warrick Dunn and Dalvin Cook are the only four ACC players in league history aside from Watson to crack the top 10 of the Heisman Trophy voting twice.
Only two other players from current ACC schools have twice finished in the top three of the Heisman voting. The first was North Carolina’s Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice, who came in second in 1948 and 1949. But that was when UNC was still in the Southern Conference.
The second was Boston College’s Doug Flutie, who finished third in 1983 prior to winning the Heisman in 1984. That was two decades before BC joined the ACC.
Louisville’s Lamar Jackson, the newest Heisman Trophy winner, will have an opportunity in 2017 to follow in Watson’s footsteps and become the second ACC player in history to earn top-three billing twice.
With some more good fortune, Jackson will also challenge Ohio State running back Archie Griffin’s distinction of being the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner in college football history.