Better Know a Terp- Lansford Watson

After a rough 2009, Lansford Watson intends to make sure that it does not happen again in 2010.

After the Terps’ frustrating 2009 season, junior tight end Lansford Watson said he’s going to change his weekly routine to help ensure it doesn’t happen again.

The Brooklyn, N.Y. native said he’ll study film on the defensive ends he faces week by week. He’ll try to anticipate possible stunts based on the type of stance his opponent is in. He’ll supercharge his speed and deepen his strength by eating those leaner, less tasty, character-building foods. And he’ll knock out his assignments, both on and off the field.

“Before spring ball I didn’t work as hard as I feel I’m going to work now, and I know what I need to work on,” Watson said. “So from here on out, it’s straight working, getting my game better. If you want to be the best, you got to be dedicated. You can’t sidetrack anything.”

But through his decision to play for Maryland, the once highly touted Lincoln High School recruit sidetracked many stellar Division I programs, including Miami, Florida and USC.

“I wasn’t star-struck by the big-name schools,” Watson said. “At schools like that, there’s a lot of politics. I feel the coaches here are going to put the best player on the field, players that they can rely on and players that show up and practice every day.”

While Watson currently shares a spot atop the depth chart with Devonte Campbell, he cited Matt Furstenburg as a tenacious bidder for playing time at tight end.

“He’s legit, a strong blocker, quick,” Watson said. “If Matt Furstenburg’s the best player and the coaches feel that way, he will play and I will respect it. Everybody has a role.”

And throughout his life, Watson has stretched and molded into several different roles. His father’s absence during his childhood created a unique level of emotional depth in his relationships with other family members, whom he looked to for moral guidance.

“We became so close,” Watson said. “They believed in me when nobody else wanted to. When I did wrong things, they always motivated me to make sure it wouldn’t happen again.”

As the youngest of five kids, Watson found himself acting as a big brother after his only one moved to Trinidad.

“I lived in a household full of females,” Watson said. “In a way, it made me more mature, and it made me understand my family more.”

Watson latched onto football at age 9, when he lived in Florida. After watching his cousin play in a Pop Warner game in Fort Lauderdale, the then-basketball fan started to embrace football as his “way of life.”

Watson moved to Brooklyn soon after, and began playing for the local “rec” team, the Skyhawks, on which he played offensive tackle. He pointed out his New York neighborhood as a breeding ground for athletes, including Lance Stephenson and Stephon Marbury.

Watson said he came to Maryland with an NFL future in mind, but has other plans if that one doesn’t work out: he’d like to roam the sidelines as a high school or college coach.

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