Dabo Swinney is not afraid to make a bold prediction - even when conventional wisdom says otherwise.
His second full season as Clemson's head football coach had seen the Tigers stumble to a 6-7 record and there was plenty of questions surrounding Swinney's ability to be the long-term answer in Death Valley. In the aftermath of that season, Swinney boldly predicted Clemson would have its most successful decade ever. Considering the Tigers won the 1981 national championship, that statement was met with a few chuckles and eye-rolls.
Six seasons later, it's Swinney who has had the last laugh at the expense of the critics. Six straight season of double-digit wins has been capped off by the 35-31 win over Alabama in the national championship.
Houston Texans fans hope his later prediction comes equally as true.
Swinney was a guest on Sports Radio 610 in Houston on Friday to discuss the Texans' decision to aggressively trade up to the 12th overall pick so they could grab Watson.
Speaking on "The Triple Threat with Sean Pendergast, Rich Lord and Ted Johnson" , Swinney predicted Watson coming to Houston is going to lead to the Lombardi Trophy coming to that city.
"This is just ideal. It’s just ideal. It’s so rare that a quarterback gets the chance to go to a playoff team where there is no established starter,” Swinney said.
“It’s a great opportunity for him. He’s got a strong structure. There is a good culture and a good organization in place there in Houston. I Think O’Brien is a heck of a coach. Obviously, he’s got a good supporting class around him. They’ve got a heck of a defense and J.J. [Watt] didn’t even play last year. And of course, he gets to throw the ball to DeAndre (Hopkins) I think it is the perfect fit and the perfect situation for him. I think Houston just won a Super Bowl. I don’t know if it’s this year, next year or the next but it’s coming.”
Watson has won at every level so far. A state championship at his high school in Georgia and a national championship at Clemson. He's also a two-time Heisman finalist and won every major post-season award for quarterbacks. Swinney told the Houston listeners he expects Watson to flourish in the NFL.
“(It's) not going to be any different there then it’s been everywhere he’s been,” Swinney said.
“His football IQ and his ability to absorb the playbook was unbelievable.
“You can’t measure what he has.
“This guy is an unbelievable winner. He’s got the skill set to play in any type of football league anywhere on the planet. And what he has you just can’t coach it. He has this mindset and this poise that is so well. You know it when you see it and it’s hard to describe but he’s got it. And now Houston’s got it. I can’t wait to see them hold that trophy up because it’s coming. Get ready for it, it’s coming."
Before the draft, Swinney also made the statement that any team that passes on Watson would be "passing on Michael Jordan". Texans fans will no doubt be keeping track of both predictions and if they come true, Swinney might be on the list of speakers at the parade.
© 2017 WLTX-TV