Watson was ranked No. 22 in the nation entering last year and finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting, the first Clemson player to be a Heisman finalist. He led the Tigers to a 14-1 record and No. 2 national ranking at season’s end. He became the first FBS player in history to throw for over 4,000 yards and rush for over 1,000 in the same season. He was a first-team All-American and ACC Player of the Year.
Eight different media outlets selected top 40, 50 or 100 players this off season and Watson was named the nation’s top player by five of them. The others to pick him No. 1 were Sporting News, CBS Sports, NFL.com and Athlon Sports. Bleacher Report chose Watson No. 2, while Sports Illustrated and Pro Football Focus chose Watson sixth.
ESPN.com had six Tigers in their top 100. Wide receiver Mike Williams was ranked 48th, offensive tackle Mitch Hyatt was 55th, running back Wayne Gallman was 58th, wide receiver Artavis Scott was 76th and defensive lineman Christian Wilkins was 85th.
Ten current Clemson players were listed as top 100 players by at least one of the eight media outlets. Ben Boulware was ranked 23rd by Si.com and 32nd by Sporting News. Jordan Leggett was ranked 79th by NFL.com and 92nd by Si.com. Carlos Watkins was ranked in the top 50 by NFL.com (14), Sporting News (38) and Si.com (49). Cordrea Tankersley was ranked 57th by Pro Football Focus and 90th by NFL.com.
Watson was the only Tiger ranked in the top 100 by all eight services. Gallman was ranked in six of the eight, Mike Williams was ranked in five of the eight, Hyatt, Watkins and Scott were listed in three of the eight.
Clemson Players in Top 100 Preseason Rankings for 2016
Deshaun Watson: ESPN.com (1), Sporting News (1), CBS (1), NFL.com (1), Athlon (1), Bleacher Report (2), Pro Football Focus (6), Si.com (6).
Wayne Gallman: CBS (35), Athlon (35), Bleacher Report (38), Si.com (41), ESPN,com (58), Pro Football Focus (92).
Mike Williams: NFL.com (18), CBS (42), Si.com (42), ESPN.com (48), Pro Football Focus (58).
Mitch Hyatt: Athlon (25), CBS (39), ESPN.com (55)
Carlos Watkins: NFL.com (14), Sporting News (38), Si.com (49).
Artavis Scott: Bleacher Report (28), ESPN (76), Si.com (98).
Ben Boulware: Si.com (23), Sporting News (32).
Jordan Leggett: NFL.com (79), Si.com (92).
Cordrea Tankersley: Pro Football Focus (57), NFL.com (90)
Christian Wilkins: ESPN.com (85).