February 7, 2012

2013 Intro: Defensive end Tray Watkins

Forest City (N.C.) Chase defensive end Tray Watkins is small by no means - he checks in at 6-foot-3, 240 pounds - but he has had to grow up in the shadow of big brother Carlos Watkins for his entire life. The elder Watkins, a four-star member of the class of 2012, is off to Clemson next fall, though, and Tray will command much of the spotlight on his own.

The younger Watkins played mostly defensive end, on the opposite side of his big brother, and tight end, as well as some wide receiver, as a junior.

"This past year, I did pretty good," he said. "I had probably 12 sacks, 15 tackles for loss and 50-some tackles on the season. We improved a lot from my sophomore year, during my sophomore year, we went 2-9; this year, we had a big turnaround and went 9-4. I've been on the varsity team basically since my freshman year."

Although Watkins is a two-way player on the prep level, he knows his future on the gridiron lies on the defensive side, which fits his smash-mouth attitude.

"We run a triple option offense and I play tight end because I've got hands, I can catch and coach likes to send me on routes," he said. "But I like defense way better, you get to hurt people and stuff like that."

Watkins has enjoyed playing with his big brother, who he credits as a driving force in his football career.

"It was nice [playing with Carlos], he's a real good athlete," Watkins said. "He played on the other side from me at defensive end and it was good. He's taught me a lot about hard work and technique. He makes me practice against him every day so that makes me better."

Watkins said that he has been to an NC State junior day in mid-January and mentioned that we would like to take more unofficial visits this summer and during his senior campaign. He said that Clemson, UNC-Charlotte, NC State and Appalachian State have been in contact, although he is still looking for his first offer. He added that he would like to hear from North Carolina and Wake Forest.

Watkins grew up as a Miami football fan, but admitted that the NCAA investigation could have an effect on his decision; and he is also a Carolina fan on the hardwood.

Before taking his trip to Raleigh, Watkins had some good things to say about the Wolfpack.

"They've got a pretty good future ahead of them," he said. "They've got a quarterback who is pretty good, they beat some teams this year and they won their bowl game. They looked pretty good."

Watkins did not discuss any favorites, but mentioned how excited he is for his final prep campaign.

"I have big plans for next season, we hope to do it big," he said. "Our goal is to go undefeated and make it to the state championship game."

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