Tray Watkins inks with SC State
For the second straight year a member of the Watkins family is set to play Division 1 football in the state of South Carolina. Last year it was Chase star Carlos Watkins, but this year his younger brother, Tray, took center stage on signing day when he signed with South Carolina State.
Watkins, who posted 70 tackles and nine sacks in 2012 for the Chase Trojans, will now suit up as a Bulldog for South Carolina State, a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
"It feels great, it really does," Watkins said after signing. "I'm going to play at the next level and getting a chance to play college ball. I feel very blessed."
"We had him as one of the top guys on our board and we were really pleased to get him," South Carolina State head coach Oliver Pough said of Watkins. "He's very versatile and athletic which is hard to find in defensive lineman. He showed some quick-twitch skills and may be a guy that will eventually play inside for us. He may even be a guy that's utilized in our goal line offense. He has a lot of abilities."
One of the deciding factors for Watkins was the opportunity to study Sports Management.
"The football players were real cool and after them they have what I'm wanting to major in," Watkins said.
"He understands football isn't everything for him," added Chase head coach Daniel Bailey. "He knows that football is short-lived so I thought it was very mature of him to consider the education aspects."
Bailey, who has seen several players move on to the college level, relishes these moments.
"It's also an education opportunity. If you're able to go and play the game you love and get a free education, that's definitely a bonus," Bailey said. "It's a joy as a coach to see it work out for these young men."
Adding intrigue to the signing is the fact that Watkins is slated to do battle with his brother when SC State takes on Clemson in the second week of the 2013 season.
"Playing against my brother will be a cool experience since we grew up together playing and now we're playing against each other at the college level," Watkins said.
That game is one the Watkins family and Bailey is marking on their calendars.
"It was just great to see [Tray] mature this year and make his own name," Bailey said. "It's going to be exciting. I'll be down there cheering for both of them."
The Watkins name did a lot for Tray in his recruiting journey.
"Because of his connection to our state with his brother, Carlos, We kind of knew about him that way. One of our coaches got in there and did a nice job landing him. The rest is history and we're really excited about it," Pough said. "He's a fantastic young man that comes from a great home so he's got all the intangibles. Not only is he a great football player but he's a nice young man. We're looking forward to having him here."
As far as playing time is concerned, that is yet to be determined.
"We'll see what his learning curve is when he gets here," Pough said.