"A Physical Violent Offensive Lineman"

Last summer, Chris Watt and his father were traveling from a basketball tournament in Ohio back to their Glen Ellyn, Ill. home, when they decided to make a pit stop in South Bend. It was the first time the 6-foot-4, 280-pound offensive linemen ever step foot on Notre Dame's campus.

Thanks to a security guard, it was a special treat.

Chris Watt and his father were circling Notre Dame Stadium, trying to get a better look inside.

"We were walking around, and then we were wondering if there was any way to see the stadium," Watt explained. One of the top players in the state, the Glenbard West High standout already holds 12 scholarship offers. "We saw a security guard, and he said he'd give us a tour of the campus. We got to see some of the school buildings, and he took us to the side and we got a better peek of the stadium."

This past season, Watt unofficially visited for the Duke game, and finally got to go inside.

"It was unbelievable," Watt stated. "It was awesome. I was blown away by the fans. Their record wasn't the best this year and the fans were still there supporting the program. Next year the program is going to be better.

"After the game we got to go in the locker room and talk to the players, which was cool," Watt continued. "And I got to shake hands with (Irish head coach) Charlie Weis, which was a humbling experience."

Watt hopes to be humbled again at Notre Dame's junior day this Sunday.

Already holding offers from Ohio State, Northwestern, Indiana, Purdue, Minnesota, Arizona, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan State, and most recently Stanford, Watt would like to add another from the team he has grown up rooting for. The past three weeks, he said he has been emailing regularly with Irish assistant coach Rob Ianello.

"I'm hoping to get a better feel for the coaches and how high I am on their list for recruits, and potentially maybe get offered," Watt said. "I want to get a better feel for the campus and the academic side of everything.

"I've always liked Notre Dame since I was little. It was a Midwest school, and I've always been a Midwest fan. The tradition at Notre Dame is huge and one of my friend's Dad's played there on the 1977 national championship team.

"His name was Marty Detmer. He was a tight end. I think he was a freshman that year so I don't know how big of a part he played in them winning it."

Watt played a huge part in Glenbard West going from 1-8 the season before, to 6-5 this past fall. The Hilltoppers advanced to the second round of the state playoffs, losing to Morgan Park.

"We should've won that game," Watt stated. It was his school's first appearance in the playoffs in quite a long time. Watt matched up with Morgan Park's standout defensive end Craig Drummond most of the evening.

"It was a good battle between us," Watt said. "The third to last play on my highlight film, I go up against him and I had a pretty good block."

"He owned Craid Drummond in that game," Glenbard West head coach Chad Hetlet said. "We rushed for 340 yards and most of it was behind Chris. And Craig Drummond is a freak, he is as good as it gets. It was to Chris's advantage though. We were going right at him, and I don't know if he was ready for that. Most teams don't do that. He was holding his own, it's not like Chris was putting him on his back."

Colleges are recruiting Watt as an interior lineman.

"They like the way I finish my blocks and they like the way I play with a mean streak, and how I'm athletic enough to play either guard or center in college."

Hetlet backs those comments up, adding that Watt had around 128 pancakes this season.

"I think what everyone sees on film is that he is such a physical violent offensive lineman, that has unbelievable speed and is able to get to the next level of the defense," he said. "His highlight video, I've never seen anything like it. It speaks volumes to the type of player he is. Ohio State came in early, Jim Tressell came in and so did (Iowa assistant coach) Lester Erb, and they watched basketball practice, and both Iowa and Ohio State offered him that day because they like the way he moves.

"He finishes every play. He is a kid that can get to the second level. Once he engages, he locks on and finishes. He is even athletic enough to get to the third level and get to the safeties."

Watt, however, hasn't played center since sixth grade.

"This season I played both guard spots when we needed to pull," he explained. "I usually played left tackle, and at tight end I did a lot of down blocking in our rhino sets."

They even threw a pass to him in the season's final game, but Watt wasn't able to bring it in. He's hoping for at least one reception next season.

Watt has a 4.3 GPA on a 4.0 scale, and it's easy to see where he gets his smarts in the classroom and talent on the gridiron. His grandfather and two great uncles played football at Harvard. Another uncle played at Brown, and his older brother Kevin Watt plays defensive end at Northwestern.

Watt attended two games in Evanston this past season. He recently went to Wisconsin's junior day, and has plans to visit Ohio State for their junior day in March. He may also check out Oklahoma, Virginia and Purdue.

"I think I want to make my decision before my senior season, like maybe the summer or even before that depending on who offers and if I can find a school that fits me," Watt said.

"I think the biggest thing is being able to get along with the players and coaches because those are the people I'll be spending the next four or five years of my life with. Academics are in there too. I really want a school I can get a great education at as well."


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