TAMPA – You can call him a safety or a linebacker, but what Cyle Watts brings to the Alonso defense is even more than his set position. The rising senior is ready to start his second season of varsity of football as an outside linebacker/safety for the Ravens.
Watts, a 6’2″, 185-pounder is fresh off a junior campaign where he totaled 31 tackles, two sacks, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble in eight games. He took a big step forward in a starting role despite missing two games due to an ankle injury.
“I knew I had to step up because we were going to lose a lot of seniors,” Watts said about last season. “We didn’t have a lot of leaders on our team so I had to step up. I think I performed really well.”
Watts earned the call to varsity at Alonso late in his sophomore year after playing JV football at St. Pete High. His family’s move to the Tampa area sent him to Alonso.
Alongside him on the defensive side of the ball is his brother Cole Watts. Cyle says its a lot of fun to be on the same team as his brother, also a Class of 2017 prospect.
“I like playing with my brother because I know I have a dog on my side. I can trust him to do his assignment.”
Last season is when Cyle said he truly gained his confidence.
“I started to know everybody at school and all my teammates. That’s when I started to get a lot of reps on varsity and I became a starter. I became comfortable with the coaches.”
Watts says his biggest strengths are his hitting power and ability to stop the run. He’s working hard to take his play recognition skills to another level. “When I drop back in coverage I want to recognize where the ball is more,” he says.
Five schools have shown interest in the rising senior including Bethune-Cookman, Charleston Southern, West Florida, New Hampshire, Appalachian State.
He plans on visiting camps at the University of Florida, North Carolina and Wisconsin this summer as well as a couple Division-II schools.
Watts says playing for coach Brian Emanuel is great. Emanuel is entering his sixth year as the head coach following a stint as the offensive coordinator previously at Alonso. The Ravens are fresh off a 4-6 season.
“He’s [Emanuel] a great role model and an overall good guy to be around. He tells us to give 110 percent every time even if you mess up.”
Watts started playing football at age 5 as a running back. He switched to defense in his second season of Pee Wee football.
His biggest role model is his father.
“He wants me to do and be my best. He asks me if I’ve read a book on the weekend and encourages me to train more and harder than the next guy. He really challenges me to go the extra mile.”
Watts wants to study sports nutrition in college and get a good education. As for his final season of high school football, he says he believes this is one of the best defensive units he’s been around.
Whether he lines up in the box as a will linebacker or as a strong safety in coverage, Watts stands out from the bunch. He has an intriguing skill set that features his ability to stay in his zone and make a play.
Cyle Watts can’t help turnaround Alonso all by himself, but he certainly will ball out this season. If this team can rally around his energy then there’s no reason they can’t be a top-notch defense like he alluded to.
Favorite players to watch – Oakland Raiders S Karl Joseph
Playlist before games – Future, Jay-Z, Tupac
Favorite movies – Unbroken
Favorite TV shows – Africa
Fun fact about you that nobody knows – “I want to work in nutrition and create my own business, possibly a gym.”
Nickname from teammates or friends – “Hercules”
Game film: Watts’ Hudl tape
Jake Perper is the scout for Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.
If you have any questions or comments feel free to write below or email Jake at firstname.lastname@example.org.