Menelik Watson (Photo by Tomahawk Nation)
Menelik Watson is the 54th player profiled in this series looking at the players likely to impact Florida State's season. There are 7 days until FSU football. The list is not in any specific order.
One of the nation's top junior college offensive tackles, who hails from Manchester, England...big, physical player who is considered to have some of the best feet in the nation for an offensive lineman and the quickness (clocked in the 4.7 range in the 40-yard dash) to be effective against the big, fast defensive ends at the college level...has an explosive first step, a constantly square body and serious downfield speed which projects him to be a solid blocker in both the passing and rushing game...rated a four-star prospect by 247Sports and a three-star offensive lineman by Rivals and Scout...helped Saddleback College (Mission Viejo, Calif.) to an 8-3 record, No. 5 ranking and berth in the Golden State Bowl...named second team Southern California Football Association All-Conference helping a Saddleback offense that led the SCFA in total offense (470.4 yards per game), ranked second in scoring offense (40.5 ppg), passing offense (338.6 yards per game), 24th in rushing offense (131.7)...trained as a basketball player his entire life in England until he played for the CDA Academy in Spain...wasn't introduced to football until arriving in America...actually signed a Division I basketball scholarship with Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. and after a redshirt freshman season (2009-10), emerged as a team captain playing forward and center for the Red Foxes...averaged 4.7 points and 3.3 rebounds in 29 games with 13 starts in his only season (2010-11) at Marist...ranks as the No. 5 junior college player by 247Sports, No. 9 junior college offensive tackle and No. 19 on the top-50 junior college players by Rivals...graduated from Burnage High School, in Manchester, England in 2006...selected Florida State over Auburn, Cal, Oklahoma, Oregon and Rutgers.
Part of the reason I elected not to debut this list in any specific order is to allow myself a chance to save players about whom I had questions for last. Menelik Watson is one of those players.
Watson is a really cool story. So cool that Sports Illustrated saw fit to write a story about him. SI doesn't write stories about junior college offensive linemen. But they did on Watson. It tells a lot about his twisting journey to becoming an FBS recruit. Apparently fell in love with FSU when a friend brought him to the BYU-FSU game in Doak.
Trickett flew out to visit Watson at Saddleback on Dec. 1 and offered him a scholarship on the spot. "He walked in and I said, 'Holy hell, that guy is big,'" Trickett said. "Jimbo [Fisher] asked me what he looked like, and I told him, 'If you were to draw up a [dream] lineman, that's what he looks like. I've never coached a guy who was 320 pounds and moved like he did on tape."
Here was our commitment story on him from the Winter.
Watson is a tremendous athlete, having played D1 basketball. He's also a huge human. And he seems to have the inside track to be Florida State's starter at right tackle over Daniel Glauser and (technically) Bobby Hart. But the battle is hardly settled.
Watson was not immediately good in camp, as he struggled a good bit when the pads initially came on. But, as camp wore on, he has improved a lot (or so I'm told, given that we cannot watch scrimmages).
Watson's athleticism and size should allow him to be effective in one-on-one situations. Perhaps very effective. The man is a giant.
It's the other aspects of the position that should be a cause for concern, or at the very least, an area to watch.
This is something I've discussed quite a bit with Ricobert1 and others on our email chain. How will Watson do working in tandem with right guard Tre Jackson? How will he handle stunts, twists, slants, blitzes, delayed blitzes, etc? We just don't know. We can't know. Not yet.
And that doesn't mean it can't or won't be done. It's simply an uncertainty.
What seems logical, however, is that Florida State was comfortable enough with Watson (and the others) that it moved Bryan Stork back to the center position. If it was seriously worried about the right tackle position, would it have done so? Probably not.
How do you think Watson will do?