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Deshaun Watson's championship dream came true with help from former NFL star

Quarterback Deshaun Watson #4 of the Clemson Tigers celebrates after throwing a 2-yard game-winning touchdown pass during the fourth quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide to win the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game 35-31 at Raymond James Stadium Tampa, Florida

Streeter Lecka, Getty Images

NEW YORK -- It was a dream-come-true ending for Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson: A touchdown pass on the last play to win college football’s national championship.

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Deshaun Watson, left, and head coach Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers

Streeter Lecka, Getty Images

“I am just thankful for the people who I have around me, believing in me,” Watson said after Monday night’s game.

But actually, Watson’s dream came true long before, in 2006 when he was 11, and his family was able to move to a better life.

“I was in a government apartment, a lot of bad influence around. It wasn’t something that everyone wanted to stay in for the rest of their life,” he said.

Deshaun and his family were one of more than 150 helped by former pro-football star Warrick Dunn’s charity. 

Dunn partners with Habitat For Humanity to make home ownership a realty for single parents.

“I just try to provide an opportunity for stability,” Dunn said.

It is how Dunn honors his mother’s memory. She was an off-duty Baton Rouge, Louisiana police officer killed during a robbery. At 18, he became the guardian of five siblings, using his mom’s life insurance to buy a home for them and learning early about the stability a home can provide.

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Warrick Dunn, left, and Deshaun Watson, second from left, after Dunn helped house the Watson family in 2006

Watson Family

“It gives them opportunity to reach for their dreams and to change their outcome of their future,” Dunn said.

A nice story a decade ago became a great story Monday night.

“A dream came true, and all the success has been coming and blessings been coming through,” Watson said.

Just ask the guy living the dream, now building Habitat houses with his Clemson teammates so others can live theirs.

  • Jim Axelrod

    Jim Axelrod is the anchor of the Saturday edition of the "CBS Evening News" and a national correspondent for CBS News, reporting for the "CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley" and other CBS News broadcasts.