The cliché “Big Fish in a Small Pond” comes to mind when I spoke to one of the newest Chargers. Our beloved Bolts have had success with undrafted players in the past and the examples include: Antonio Gates, Malcom Floyd and Jahleel Addae, just to name a few.
Please join me in welcoming another solid find to the San Diego Chargers, Craig Watts Jr. He stands 6’4” with 335 pounds of awesome. He’s the perfect size perfect for an O-Line specimen. This young man didn’t start playing football until his junior year in high school, however his quickness, ability to adapt, raw tools, and willingness to learn put him in the position that he has earned right now with the Bolts.
In reviewing former NFL Pro Bowler LeCharles Bentley’s statements about Craig Watts, I was amazed that no other team grabbed this guy. Mr. Bentley said about Craig, “He has a high work ethic and a switch that he can turn on which allows him to go to another level to get things done. I believe that switch comes from his military upbringing.”
I had the privilege to interview Mr. Watts. He is not only a beast on the field – allowing no sacks his senior year – but as a human being he is respectful, honest and down to earth. Craig is a well-rounded young man and I could not be happier that he signed a contract with the San Diego Chargers.
I just wanted to thank Craig for taking part in this interview and to say that myself and the rest of the BoltFam will be rooting for you all the way is an understatement.
Brian: Let’s start the interview off by you giving the fans a short personal bio about you.
Craig: First I just wanted to say thank you for your support during this process and that I’m beyond excited to be a part of the Charger family!
My name is Craig Watts Jr.
I majored in history at West Texas A&M and earned my Bachelor’s of Arts in it. I call Texas my home but was born in Colorado. Both of my parents are retired soldiers from the US Army. I have an older brother and a baby sister.
Brian: What did you learn from the game of football in college that has helped you earn the opportunity in the NFL with the Chargers?
Craig: One of the biggest things I learned in college that has helped me get to where I am is that nothing is handed to you. Coming from a small school, you have to earn every little thing. I also learned the intense focus required to be successful.
Brian: Tell me a little about your extra-curricular activities including your time with S.A.L.T.
Craig: Well Salt actually is for Student Athlete Leadership Team. I was in that as well as a few academic honor clubs including Mortar Board. I also was a campus tour guide for a couple years and a peer leader intern which was a group responsible for helping incoming freshmen adapt to the college transition.
Brian: You spent 3 years at West Texas A&M; a college not too many people have heard about. What is it that you loved the most about the city and the college?
Craig: What I loved most about WT was the commitment and dedication of both athletics ancient academics towards student success. We have great academics there a culture of winning in sports. And the city is just very American ha. It’s full of people who are genuinely great people.
Brian: As mentioned above, former NFL Pro Bowler LeCharles Bentley has a high regard for you and when asked about you he stated, “He’s extremely coach-able and the kid is one of the best offensive line athletes that I have ever been around.” Those are quite the compliments. How does that make you feel to have a former NFL pro-bowler say that about you after him only knowing you for such a short time?
Craig: Well first I want to say that everyone at O Line Performance are some of the most amazing people I’ve ever been around. Each one is incredible and they are beyond knowledgeable about the game and the journey of becoming a man. To have LeCharles speak highly of me is a blessing and flattering to earn the belief and praise of someone who I’ve looked up to, even before we ever met. But don’t let the few months I’ve trained with his company be the indicator of our relationship. OLP is a family and truly a brotherhood. It’s a great feeling to have people like them in your corner.
Brian: Being a former educational advocate myself in the foster care system, I was happy to see that you worked with elementary schools to help with the children’s reading skills. How rewarding was this for you?
Craig: Working with kids is amazing and I can’t get enough of it. Seeing a kid grow is incredibly satisfying and rewarding knowing that you have made an impact on their life. Growing up I moved a lot and it was always cool to have people who showed interest in your development. I think it’s very important to give back wherever you are. I’d really like to start doing the same here in San Diego.
Brian: What was that like and what was your first thought when you realized you were getting a shot in the NFL?
Craig: Incredible. Absolutely surreal. You dream about it every day. You’ve envisioned the chance to live out a dream, but there’s always that voice, especially coming from a small school, that says that it’s a long shot. Great players are everywhere. So you just pray for a chance and work hard so when the opportunity comes, you’re ready. It’s very motivating and reassures you that you can do it.
Brian: If you could be a superhero, who would it be and why?
Craig: My favorites are Iron Man and the Hulk. But I’d say Iron Man, because he doesn’t have powers, but uses what’s at guys resources to get the job done.
Brian: What would it be like in a position group that is lead by veteran Nick Hardwick and first round draft pick of 2013 DJ Fluker?
Craig: It’s an amazing place to be. All of the Veterans are amazing guys that exemplify what it is to be a professional. Being able to learn from them and all of their experience is incredible and I try to learn all I can.
Brian: Some are saying there is not much youth on the O-Line. Besides your age, what else will you bring to the Chargers?
Craig: I think that what I bring to the Chargers is a high level of work ethic and commitment to the team, and like the guys already here, an attitude to do what it takes to win. One team, one goal.
Brian: How often will you be visiting BoltBlitz.com?
Craig: Very often. You guys do great work!
Brian: I hear that you were a “Military Brat” and spent a lot of time in Germany. How many languages can you speak?
Craig: I was and I spent about 7 years in Germany. But living on an American military base, there really isn’t a necessity to speak the language. Unfortunately I’m fluent in none, but I can understand German decently and speak enough to get around, as well as some French and Japanese.
Brian: What is your favorite movie?
Craig: Good question. I have so many but if I had to choose I’d say Saving Private Ryan or Forrest Gump. The Ocean’s movies are my favorite trilogy.
Brian: What are you listening to on your iPod right now?
Craig: Ha. The last song I listened to was Change the World by Eric Clapton. I listen to everything.
Brian: What does it mean to you signing your first NFL contract?
Craig: It means another step in the process. It gives me something to work for but it in no way means I made it. There’s still a lot to do. It’s just a signal to keep working.
Brian: There is a BoltBlitz Meetup on May 31st at the Tilted Kilt in Mission Valley at 4pm. Can we expect to see you there?
Craig: I’ll do my best but it depends on the work schedule. However, I will make a meeting at some point.
Brian: Last question…What do I have to do to get a Watts jersey?
Craig: Haha. Once I officially make the active roster, I’ll make sure you’re good to go.
I’d really like to take a moment to thank Craig one last time for taking the time to do this interview. I look forward to seeing him not only make the roster, but be a major cog going forward for your San Diego Super Chargers.
Brian “Big White Kahuna” Scott