Clemson QB Deshaun Watson is one of the early favorites to win the 2016 Heisman Trophy after a remarkable sophomore campaign in which he threw for 4,104 yards and ran for another 1,105.
That production on the ground has earned him the “dual threat” label, which Watson says is more a product of his race than his playing style.
Via Bleacher Report:
“I have no idea, but it’s there. People think, ‘Oh, he’s a black quarterback, he must be dual-threat.’ People throw around that word all the time. It’s lazy. The one thing I learned early on as a football player is people have their opinions, and I can’t change them. But I can show them what they’re missing.”
As Watson points out, it’s much more difficult for black quarterbacks to shake the “scrambler” label. Even NFL MVP Cam Newton is still viewed by many as a raw pocket passer, despite all of the evidence to the contrary.
People have assumed that I have to run the ball before I can throw it most all of my career, all the way back before high school. It’s a stereotype put on me for a long time because I’m African-American and I’m a dual-threat quarterback. I don’t know why that stereotype is still around. It’s about talent and the ability to throw the ball, not the color of your skin or your ability to also be a dangerous runner.
Watson is right. He doesn’t need his legs to be a productive player and will likely be the first-overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft thanks to passing prowess. But at the same time, his running ability is what separates him from the rest of his peers, and is still a very large part of his game. He racked up more than 200 carries for the Tigers last season alone.
The quarterback run game figures to be a big part of Clemson’s offense again in 2016, so Watson may have to wait until he makes the NFL to finally shed the “running quarterback” stereotype.
Source: USA Today Fan Sports Poll