Tuskegee-Morehouse Classic: Carver grad Latavius Watts succeeds on and off the field at Morehouse

dmitchell@ledger-enquirer.comOctober 5, 2012 

For former Carver High defensive back Latavius Watts, there's nothing better than coming home.

Now a senior on the Morehouse College football team, Watts will play in his final Tuskegee-Morehouse Classic today at A.J. McClung Memorial Stadium.

It's a game that always has stood out to him, not so much because of the rivalry and the fanfare but because it is an opportunity to show family and friends how far he has come.

"It's fun," he said. "Every game I play is fun, but it's even better when I come home, because my family and friends can see me. I enjoy it. It's just an opportunity to show them how I play."

And how he plays is pretty good.

In five games this season, Watts is tied for third on the team in tackles with 35, including two for a loss.

In the Tuskegee-Morehouse Classic last year, Watts ensured the Morehouse victory by intercepting a pass on Tuskegee's final drive.

"He's an outstanding player who makes a lot of plays," Morehouse coach Rich Freeman said of Watts.

"He's really emerged as a leader on our defense."

But what Freeman is most impressed about Watts is his dedication to his education as well as football.

Freeman said that Watts, who is a kinesiology major, puts as much effort into academics as he does on the field and, as a result, is on pace to graduate with honors.

"He's just a very responsible young man," Freeman said.

"He makes good decisions. He plans well.

"He doesn't do anything fly-by-night. He's very responsible, and we've never had any problems with him.

"Some guys you worry about what they may get into but not Watts."

Watts said that it's nice to be regarded in that way, but he sees it as just doing his job.

"I'm a student-athlete," said Watts, who went to Morehouse on a dual athletic and academic scholarship.

"I take my schoolwork very seriously. That's why they brought me (to Morehouse). It's my job to be a student-athlete."

Watts noted his upbringing as a reason for his emphasis on academics, stating that his mom always stressed education.

Freeman said a lot of the skills Watts uses in the classroom and in life help him succeed on the football field as well.

He is a critical thinker, the coach said.

"That's what you want out of your players," Freeman said.

"The ability to think on your toes and adjust really helps in key situations."

Watts' football career, which has gone on since he picked up a ball at 5 years old, might end at the end of this season.

It's a career that has included a lot of individual success, as well as team success, such as the 2007 Carver state championship team.

He has post-career plans, though, and given his academic history, they are plans he will work hard to achieve.

For now, though, his focus is on today's game, where he hopes he will win his final Classic.

"You don't really get past the craziness (of the game)," he said.

"I'm just happy to be here in front of my family and friends, and, hopefully, we can pick up a win.

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