"He really looks like he wants to compete," said Richt after one of the first practices of the spring. Watson is behind star tight end Leonard Pope and rising senior Martrez Milner on the depth chart. He is listed behind fellow sophomore Trahern Holden, but that may be due mainly to Watson's moving around so much before settling in at tight end.
Eager, Watson says he wants a chance to show what he can do on the field.
"I feel like I can step in and play if I am needed – I just have to have my shot. I've got a lot of talent in the guys ahead of me right now, but if I am given my shot I will be ready to go," he said.
Watson fully understands that Pope is likely a top NFL pick in the near future and knows that unseating him this season seems unlikely. Still, Watson has worked to get off the scout team and onto the two-deep depth chart.
"Last year I worked on the scout team all year long, on special teams and on offense. This year the coaches have me on the two-deep depth chart for special teams, and I am just trying to work to get on to the field – I just want to get on to the field," he said.
Watson was so eager to play, in fact, that he was willing to move positions – once to defensive line and once to the offensive line – just to increase his chance of playing.
"That's one reason I was willing to move around when I first got here, because I wanted to play. The coaches are telling me now that tight end is the spot where I am going to play," he said.
The decision to leave Watson at tight end seems like the right one. With Milner gone in 2006 and Pope likely headed to the NFL, the tight end job will be there for Holden and Watson to fight over.
Watson said he has been working to try to prove to the coaches that he is progressing towards being a productive part of the team – on the field and off.
"I try to show that I work hard, not only on the field, but also in the weight room. I think that's where I caught most of the coaches' eyes. When I came in I was just fat – a big-bodied guy – then I lost weight and got toned up, a little cut up, and every day they were praising me by telling me that my body looked good and that I was running well. I think I caught their eye in the weight room. I try to win every sprint to show the coaches anyway that I can that I am eager to get on the field," he said.