St. Al’s Watts carries on family legacy by taking football offer from West Alabama

Published 1:36 pm Thursday, March 30, 2023

Playing football well is something the Watts family takes a lot of pride in. Doing it for the University of West Alabama is something they’re starting to make a tradition.

Mason Watts, a senior offensive lineman for St. Aloysius, has accepted an offer to play at West Alabama. He’ll follow in the footsteps of his older brother Kordell, who started on the Tigers’ offensive line the past two seasons. Another brother, Khris, is a team manager there as well.

“I wouldn’t call it a family tradition, but it’s definitely a cool deal seeing as I get to follow in my older brother’s footsteps and play there,” Mason Watts said.

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Mason said his brother helped get the attention of West Alabama’s coaches that another Watts brother was looking for a place to play. Mason had offers from several NAIA schools in Iowa, Kansas and Missouri, but felt NCAA Division II West Alabama was a better fit.

“There were some smaller schools from the midwest that were ready to roll with him. That’s a long way away, and he wasn’t quite sure about it,” St. Al coach Bubba Nettles said. “I just kept saying, ‘What about West Alabama?’ He got in touch with his brother, the coaches came down and visited, he went over there and took a visit and they were able to figure some things out and here we are today.”

Mason will be a preferred walk-on. Those players do not receive scholarships, but are guaranteed a roster spot and have opportunities to earn a scholarship as their careers progress.

“I guess they realized I was a decent enough player to be a part of the team, and I was given a preferred walk-on. I felt like that was the best opportunity that I had available,” Mason said, adding of being a non-scholarship player, “I’m fine with it. It’s nothing but work. It’s what I’m used to my whole life. I have to earn it.”

The Watts brothers have been working out together the past few months. Kordell, who is on track to receive his master’s degree in business administration in May, is hoping to land with an NFL team during or soon after the league’s draft in late April. Mason is continuing his comeback from a torn ACL midway through the 2022 season with St. Al, and getting ready for college football.

Mason said his older brother has helped him on the field and off in learning how to play and approach the game of football. During Thursday’s signing ceremony in St. Al’s library, however, as swarms of family, friends and classmates took pictures, Kordell quietly reminded Mason that it was the younger brother’s day.

Mason said it was the family, friends and coaches who supported him along the way that made the day possible.

“It just makes me feel extremely grateful, because I know there’s so many people that could be in my same spot that weren’t,” Mason said. “It makes me grateful for the circle that I have and the people that have reached out, and the opportunities I’ve been given.”

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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