Congratulations are in order for quarterback Deshaun Watson who led his Clemson Tigers to an unbelievable College Football Playoff National Championship Monday night. And one person he’s got to thank for his success is NFL vet Warrick Dunn.
Dunn played in the league for 12 seasons for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Atlanta Falcons after being drafted 12th in the ’97 draft. But Dunn’s biggest hurdle came earlier on in his life when he was just 18 and his mother, a police officer, was shot and killed in an armed robbery. Dunn went on to use his mother’s life insurance money to buy his siblings a house and vowed to pay it forward. He’d eventually create the Warrick Dunn Charities and has since put 152 families into affordable homes.
One of those families happens to be Deshaun Watson’s. Back in 2006, an 11-year-old Watson brought home a note from Habitat for Humanity, laying out a path to home ownership. His mother, Deann Watson, jumped at the change to own a home, and after 300 hours of helping build houses, she was handed the keys to her own home by Dunn.
“I felt grown having my own room,” Deshaun recalled Saturday. “Just having my own bed, not really being squished, not really worrying about someone sneaking up on me, it was a great moment, a special moment.”
“We just try to help put people in safer environments and give kids an opportunity,” Dunn said to the AP. “You never know what impact you will have. You hope it’s a positive impact.”
It’s safe to say winning a College Football Championship, declaring for the NFL draft and soon being able to provide for his family is a positive impact.