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Heritage's Watson top defensive player

The Heritage Patriots rolled to a 10-2 season, thanks in part to a stifling defense.

That defense held opponents to 16.08 points a game overall, and 15.36 points per game in its 10 regular season contests.

A good reason for their opponents' lack of scoring was that they weren't able to get anything going against the Patriots at the line of scrimmage.

Heritage's main reason for that was All-state lineman Ryan Watson.

Watson's 2011 effort has also led him to be named as Defensive Player of the Year in the Newton, Rockdale County area by The Rockdale and Covington News.

Watson led the Patriots with104 tackles, including 62 total and 42 assists. He gave would-be ball carriers a rough time by tackling them 31 times for loss.

Quarterbacks didn't fare much better, getting caught for 16 sacks. When the 6-foot-3, 235-pound senior's arms were around them, opponents fumbled the ball three times.

"Watson has a passion to be great in everything he does, specifically in football," Heritage coach Chad Frazier said. "He would also take that passion to the weight room, to the practice field to the gym and especially in ball games."

Watson was also selected as the Region 8-AAAA Player of the Year, and has offers from Air Force, Navy, Georgia Southern, Georgia State and Presbyterian.

The result of a strong high school career was something that Watson worked on early at Heritage.

He first came to Frazier and his staff in ninth grade, where he wasn't as talented as he is today but the potential was there.

"He was a very coachable kid, very open to learning how to play the game," Frazier said. "After a couple of years of playing ninth grade and JV, he really took off his junior season. He just developed and became a great football player."

His size and speed didn't match his work ethic yet, but Frazier said all the ingredients were there for a great player.

"He didn't quite have the talent, but you could tell he had the size and willingness to learn and a great work ethic," Frazier said. "YOU could tell he had a chance to be really good."

After hitting the gym after his sophomore season, Watson blossomed into the highly-recruited player he is today.
"Probably the scrimmage against Eastside his junior season (is when we first noticed)," Frazier said. "He was just quick, with great hands. He was using all the techniques that he had been taught."

After his junior season, Watson was selected as an All-state player and was poised to lead the Patriots during his senior season.

He did just that earning an All-star selection to the East West Senior Bowl, and was named a team captain.
"He's just a happy kid, with a great attitude," Frazier said. "He's always smiling.