Plenty of prospects, some of them high-profile, others under-the-radar, have come and gone in the past decade or so, since the inception of the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl. Still, the talent level across the board on the national level has been about as good as it gets.
Things don’t figure to change anytime soon, either, as the hype continues to build for this year’s games: Dec. 18 and Jan. 22 at Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium, Jan. 6 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Raymond James Stadium and Jan. 13 at Jacksonville Jaguars’ EverBank Field.
To gain a better of understanding about the rapidly growing direction of things, perhaps it’s best to take some time to reflect on the humble beginnings. Therefore, moving forward, the plan is to more closely examine the brand’s many alumni from all over the country.
The individual in focus this time is Tre Watson from Tampa Catholic (FL). Not long ago, for the Class of 2014, he was named as the Defensive MVP for the South in a 47-44 overtime victory over the North in the All-American Bowl at Raymond James Stadium.
Little, or nothing, has changed. Watson is still making a difference. Off to a good start this season, and hoping to keep the momentum, the 6-foot-2 and 235-pound junior linebacker for Illinois plays Western Kentucky on Sept. 9 in a nonconference game at 8 p.m. (EST).
Named a captain this year, Watson had 12 tackles, four unassisted, an interception and a fumble recovery in last week’s a 24-21 nonconference victory over Ball State. Given his success in the past with the Fighting Illini, the production does not come as a surprise.
As a sophomore, he was an All-Big 10 Conference Honorable Mention after finishing second on the team with 108 tackles, 38 solo stops, and three forced fumbles. As a redshirt freshman, Watson played in 12 games and was Illinois’ Defensive Newcomer of the Year.
Somewhat recently is seems, he was doing the same thing. Only in his final game on the prep circuit during the All-American Bowl in Florida, not on Saturdays in Illinois as the whole country watches. Many observers might have seen it coming, in fact.