The Norman Transcript

National Sports

August 24, 2013

Watts from walk-on to elite

TULSA — Trey Watts rarely had to deal with comparisons to his father — former Oklahoma quarterback J.C. Watts — while going to high school in Virginia.

And that was just fine with him.

Now, however, as Trey Watts begins his final season back in the Sooner state — as a senior running back for Tulsa — he’s taking the time to fully appreciate the journey that’s seen him rise from former walk-on to one of Conference USA’s best.

The Golden Hurricane finished 11-3 last season and won Conference USA, ending with a win over Iowa State in the Liberty Bowl. Many of the team’s top offensive players return this season, highlighted by Watts.

Watts accounted for 2,215 all-purpose yards last season for Tulsa, including 1,132 yards rushing. He also returned a punt and kickoff for touchdowns, and his versatility has third-year coach Bill Blankenship consistently pestering his assistant coaches to make sure Watts is on the field as much as possible.

“I want 22 in the game, because I know he knows what to do and that he’s going to do the right thing,” Blankenship said. “He gets tired ... He can’t play every snap. I just like him in the game.”

His family had moved to Virginia after seventh grade, doing so because of the burgeoning political career of his farther — who had been elected to Congress. The move turned out to be a blessing of sorts for Watts, who enjoyed the relative anonymity .

Watts had no Division-I scholarship offers after a high school career that saw him gain more than 2,000 yards combined rushing and receiving.

It was only after J.C. Watts called his former high school and college friend Blankenship, then an assistant with the Golden Hurricane, that Trey Watts jumped onto Tulsa’s recruiting radar.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • Pyrenees help leader Nibali, winner Rogers in Stage 16

    BAGNERES-DE-LUCHON, France — The Pyrenees on Tuesday lived up to their reputation for causing ups and downs at the Tour de France: A French rider climbed in the standings, an American went down, and an Australian rebounding from an ordeal ...

    July 23, 2014

  • Mountain stage rough on Yankee rider

    BAGNERES-DE-LUCHON, France — The Tour de France entered the Pyrenees on Tuesday for the first of three mountain stages that may well determine the final podium of this year’s race....

    July 23, 2014

  • Strong prefers not talking about a national title

    DALLAS — Charlie Strong riled up plenty of Texas fans during a statewide spring tour by saying the Longhorns wouldn’t be in the national championship game....

    July 23, 2014

  • TCU’s Fields investigated for alleged assault

    FORT WORTH, Texas — TCU suspended defensive end Devonte Fields on Tuesday pending the results of a police investigation into whether he punched a former girlfriend in the head and threatened her with a gun while shouting, “I should blast ...

    July 23, 2014

  • Sun Belt boss expresses faith in the ‘Power-5’

    NEW ORLEANS — The Sun Belt Conference’s 11 institutions are prepared to pay more to remain part of major college football, commissioner Karl Benson said Tuesday....

    July 23, 2014

  • Crunch time for Ryder Cup

    HOYLAKE, England — The end of the British Open means the Ryder Cup is getting closer, and there are a couple of regulars still not in the team. That starts with Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods....

    July 23, 2014

  • Sam excited about next phase of career

    ST. LOUIS — Now it starts to get intense for Michael Sam and the rest of the St. Louis Rams rookies....

    July 23, 2014

  • Rory McIlroy appears poised to be golf’s next big thing

    HOYLAKE, England — Golf has been looking for the next big star the last five years, and Rory McIlroy is the most obvious candidate....

    July 23, 2014

  • Yankees acquire Headley from Padres

    NEW YORK — Trying to boost one of the weakest lineups in the American League, the New York Yankees acquired third baseman Chase Headley from the San Diego Padres on Tuesday for rookie infielder Yangervis Solarte and minor league pitcher ...

    July 23, 2014

  • Rays get to Wainright, win sixth straight

    ST. LOUIS — Jake Odorizzi allowed two runs over 5 2-3 innings and Yunel Escobar highlighted a five-run fifth inning with a two-run double to lead the Tampa Bay Rays to a 7-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night....

    July 23, 2014