TAMPA – Cole Watts made a huge impact in his first taste as a member of Alonso varsity this past season. With confidence and determination on his side, he’s looking to take the next step in 2016.
After lining up at linebacker on JV his first two prep seasons, Watts earned the call up to varsity late in his sophomore year. He transitioned to defensive line and it paid off in a big way last season as he totaled 48 tackles (32 solo), eight quarterback pressures and six sacks.
Although he didn’t earn a starting job until Week 3, he says his two-sack performance against Chamberlain the week prior helped him clinch a spot.
Watts’ focus is on defensive end this season as he’s training with coach Taylor Scott at D1 Sports Training this summer.
“He’s [Scott] the real deal when it comes to developing players,” Watts said. “The things he teaches us is something were not taught at the high school level, but at the college and pro level. Having him as a trainer has helped me come a long way when it comes to pass rushing and getting bigger, faster and stronger.”
Alonso has had only one winning season over the past six years, but Watts says he believes this is the year the Ravens get back into the postseason because they are beginning to build a culture that they never had before.
“We are building a winning culture and the base foundation of that is our players fully buying into what the coaches are telling us on and off the field. We don’t live in the past and think just because we had four losing seasons that it’s going to be like that for a long time…
“We think of what we are going do now to help us be successful in the future so that we can have a lasting affect on the program and continue this new culture down the line to each new group of football players each year.”
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] is like a second father to the players. He wants the best for every last one of his players and genuinely cares for all of us. I’d go to war with him any day. He’s one of best coaches I’ve been around. He has a lot of experience and an outstanding coaching staff behind him. He’s very organized and dedicated to what he does and he takes pride in everything about this program.”
Alongside Watts is his twin brother Cyle, a linebacker/safety hybrid for Alonso. Cole calls playing with his brother a blessing. He says the competition between them is what makes them better players and leaders.
“He’s [Cyle] an amazing athlete and isn’t afraid of anyone. If you look at his film you’ll see what I’m talking about. We push each other to the max at practice and in the weight room. Everything we do is like a competition. If he makes a big play in a game or even in practice, I know I have to make a big play or he’s going to be bragging about it to my face or vice versa.”
Starting his football career at age 6, Watts played flag football for the Azalea Bulldogs began playing football when I was six years old. He calls himself a late bloomer in terms of growth.
“I gained my confidence this past season, but it wasn’t until I started training in the D1 Sports Trench Lineman Academy when I began to have an explosion of confidence in my skill set and ability to make big time plays. I’ve always been pretty athletic.”
In terms of his biggest strengths, Watts says that is his pass rushing skills, speed off the edge, overall strength and internal drive to out work everyone.
He’s looking to improve on recognizing certain formations and patterns in opponents’ habits and weaknesses. Watts says he wants to be able to see a play before it even happens. On top of that, he wants to improve in the classroom, aiming to earn no grades below a B this year.
Right now, Watts has two offers from Florida A&M and Florida International. He earned both of those offers by attending their camps. He’s very interested in North Carolina and South Florida, saying he thinks he has a good shot if he performs to the max at their camps.
Watts plans on visiting North Carolina, North Carolina State, South Florida and Florida this summer. His most recent came was last Thursday at Miami. He visited FIU on the same day as well.
Pushing Watts to be a better person and athlete each and every day is his biggest role model, his father.
“He does everything possible to help my brother and I be successful and has made many sacrifices to help us get where we are today. I don’t think there’s a better example of a leader than my dad. I try my best to be as great of a man as he is.”
Watts’ goal with the game of football is to make an impact on the game that will last well after his playing days are over.
“I want people to know how hard of a worker I was and that I never settled to be average. I want them to think of greatness when people hear the name Cole Watts.”
He plans to study either business management or criminal justice in college with the plan to become a U.S. Marshall or an FBI employee if he doesn’t make it to the NFL.
The Watts brothers may not be able to turn Alonso around by themselves, but they are solid leaders and determined athletes.
Cole Watts is going to be an even better defensive end this season and that bodes well for this defense. He’s a chipper kid who knows what hard work is all about. My advice is to go watch an Alonso game this season.
Favorite player to watch – JJ Watt
Playlist before games – Kodak Black, Future
Favorite movies – Coach Carter
Favorite TV shows – Law & Order
Fun fact about you that you think no one knows – “I love to cook. I actually want to do culinary school on the side.”
Game film: Watts’ Hudl tape
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Jake Perper is the scout for Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.
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