The Deshaun Watson Foundation held its first-ever inaugural 7-on-7 tournament Tuesday at Dowed Field at Archbishop Hoban High School. The tournament featured 16 high school teams and provided a platform for high school athletes to exhibit their talents.
Watson, who watched the players and even ran drills with them at one point during the day, expressed that he had always aspired to organize a 7-on-7 tournament as it was where he had begun his own journey.
"When I was in high school, Cam Newton had his first annual 7-on-7 camp in Atlanta, Georgia," Watson said. "I was his first quarterback for his first all-star team. After that, we stayed in touch, and to this day, I call him my big bro. You never know; these kids may be someone I stay in touch with and watch their career grow."
Quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) and the Cleveland Browns hosted a 7ON7 Tournament at Archbishop Hoban High School on July 11, 2023.
The hope for Watson is that the athletes will receive valuable exposure and the opportunity to compete against top talent. The tournament's objective is to bring high school athletes together to compete, have fun and unite the state of Ohio.
"They want to show how good they are to me," Watson said. "That's how it was when I was in high school, when Cam and other NFL players were walking around, watching us, and the cameras were out. I wanted to be the one to make those plays, throws and catches. Especially nowadays how social media is being so big, you never know one play can change your whole life."
Next year, Watson is planning to set up 30 or more teams, which will allow more Ohio athletes the opportunity to show their skills.