Sitting in a summer class at Wofford College, Devin Watson was unsure why his phone was blowing up with people passing along congratulations via text messages. He soon found out it was because of all the hard work he’d put in on the football field.
An East Hall High graduate and cornerback for the Terriers, Watson had picked as a 2018 first-team preseason selection in the Southern Conference.
Primarily a quarterback in high school, Watson made a stellar transition to the secondary. As a junior, Watson recorded 55 tackles and a team-high four interceptions and started 13 games for Wofford.
Still, the individual accolades are something Watson doesn’t place a high priority.
The speedy ballhawk is strictly focused on winning games.
“Really it does not mean much to me,” Watson said. “I mean it is good for me to get my name out there and everything, but I am not working for the preseason.
“I am working for the real thing at the end of the season.”
Now that 2018 is here, Watson is eyeing a repeat as Southern Conference champion, National Championship and becoming an All-American among FCS players at season’s end.
“We won Southern Conference last year and we want to do that again this year,” Watson said. “It would be the first time in school history winning it back to back. We got our rings and it’s nice.
“Once you get one, you want another.”
Preseason accolades are nothing new for Watson. He was a preseason All-Southern Conference the past two seasons.
“I made the preseason list the past two years, so it kind of puts a target on my back,” Watson said. “It is just a standard that I have to play at since I made preseason, I have to play like that every game.”
In 2016, Watson was all over the field for the Terriers, finishing with 46 tackles and three interceptions (all in the FCS postseason). Against Charleston Southern in the playoffs, he came away with two late interceptions. The following week against The Citadel, he returned a pick for a touchdown in the final minute of the game.
Watson’s motivation comes from a deep faith and to honor his high school classmate Juan Carlos Salazar, who in 2014 drowned in Lake Lanier prior to their senior year at East Hall.
“God has helped me a ton especially coming from where I come from,” Watson said. “God has helped me so much. My mom has been the biggest support system and my best friend Juan Carlos Salazar who died during my senior year of high school. He would always tell me that I am going to be great, he told me that I was going to be something big every day and made sure my head was straight. He made a big impact too.”
Watson wears No. 24 at Wofford, which was Salazar’s number at East Hall.
“I really want to be the best corner in the FCS, I really want to get my name out there and hopefully next year go to the NFL,” Watson said.
Watson will take steps to reach his goals when Wofford hosts Citadel on Sept. 1 to open up the season in Spartanburg S.C. Watson feels confident that this season will be something special.
“This is my year to make dreams come true,” Watson said.