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Clemson's Deshaun Watson Named CFB Player of the Decade

The 150th college football season brought an entire year about reflection. Some of us remembered the biggest blowout in the history of the sport. Others reminisced on, arguably, the greatest single season you'll ever witness on a football field. These last 150 years created an absolute behemoth that rallies the entire United States — from Pullman, Washington to Coral Gables, Florida — for incredible Saturday's loaded with college football.

But with another decade coming to an end (damn, am I getting old?), it's time to look back on a small piece of the pie and remember the greatest players and moments of the last 10 seasons. The College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta released its All-Decade Team and listed the greatest teams, players and game from 2011 to 2019.

All-Decade Team

QB: Deshaun Watson, Clemson
RB: Montee Ball, Wisconsin
RB: Derrick Henry, Alabama
WR: Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
WR: Amari Cooper, Alabama
TE: Nick O'Leary, Florida State
OL: Barrett Jones, Alabama
OL: David Yankey, Stanford
OL: Arie Kouandjio, Alabama
OL: Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
OL: Billy Price, Ohio State

DL: Joey Bosa, Ohio State
DL: Ed Oliver, Houston
DL: Sutton Smith, Northern Illinois
DL: Christian Wilkins, Clemson
LB: Luke Kuechly, Boston College
LB: Jarvis Jones, Georgia
LB: C.J. Mosely, Alabama
DB: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
DB: Desmond King, Iowa
DB: Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida
DB: Mark Barron, Alabama

The All-Decade Team might as well just be given to the NFL factory we've come to know as the Alabama Crimson Tide. Seven former Tide players made the 22-man roster, while Clemson (2) and Ohio State (2) were the only other schools with more than one representative.

Top Teams of the Decade

1. Alabama Crimson Tide
2. Ohio State Buckeyes
3. Clemson Tigers
4. Oklahoma Sooners
5. Oregon Ducks
6. Florida State Seminoles
7. Georgia Bulldogs
8. Michigan State Spartans
9. Stanford Cardinal
10. Texas Christian University Horned Frogs

The Hall of Fame also listed what it felt was the ten best programs of the decade. While Clemson die-hards will scoff at Ohio State being listed above them, others will easily forget that Gary Patterson's TCU team finished in the AP Top 10 three out of four seasons, including a 12-1 record and No. 3 ranking back in 2014.

Player of the Decade

Deshaun Watson, Clemson Tigers

Now is where things get dicey.

Deshaun Watson never won a Heisman Trophy. However, Watson joined Johnny Manziel and Lamar Jackson with two top-5 finishes in Heisman voting this decade. Meanwhile, Baker Mayfield finished top-5 three times, including winning the award in 2017.

It's clear the CFB Hall of Fame weighted Watson's team performance over individual numbers and accolades, and honestly, he probably deserved this.

Game of the Decade

2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game

Clemson 35, Alabama 31

Finally, the Hall awarded the Game of the Decade to Watson and Dabo Swinney's team beating Alabama for the 2017 national title. I'm sure there were tons of games involved in this conversation. The 2014 BCS National Championship. The 2017 Rose Bowl. The 2013 Iron Bowl.

It's hard to pick one, but I think this one did the trick.

This article was originally published August 23, 2019.

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