Feb. 28, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- If an award was given to Florida State's most intriguing signee in 2012, Menelik Watson would need to have an acceptance speech ready.
A former college basketball player at Marist, Watson has played in just eight football games ever after competing for one year at Saddleback Community College in Mission Viejo, Calif. this past season.
But his story is far more complex than than that unorthodox three-year route to Tallahassee and Sports Illustrated's Luke Winn has a thorough, well-written recap of Watson's path to major college football here.
Despite Watson's inexperience on the gridiron, FSU coaches hope that the impressive strides he has made in his limited time continue to take place once he joins the Seminoles.
He already passes the eye-test, now he he has to pass offensive line coach Rick Trickett's physical test on the practice fields come fall.
"I said if you took an artist and drew up what you'd want one to look like, that's what he looks like," Trickett said earlier this month, referencing the first time he told head coach Jimbo Fisher about Watson.
Watson's addition to the roster will be one of the most talked-about story lines of fall camp as he will get the chance to compete with incumbent starter Bobby Hart at right tackle. The battle on the right side of the offensive line will coincide with the battle of Watson's fellow junior-college transfer Daniel Glauser and defensive tackle turned offensive tackle Cameron Erving on the left side.
As far as the competition between Watson and Hart goes, the dichotomy between both 'Noles makes for interesting sports talk. The former is an older player that is still learning the game. The latter is a younger player (Hart won't turn 18 until this fall) that benefitted from starting nine games for FSU as a true freshman last year.
Both have tremendous upside and both have the chance to be a starter for a Seminoles team that has championship hopes in 2012.
The signing of Watson -- and Glauser, as well -- is another in a long line of junior-college players turned FSU players.
Last year, FSU signed JUCO star Cornellius Carradine and he made an immediate impact as Bjoern Werner's backup at defensive end. Jacob Fahrenkrug was also signed last year and he started all but one game in his first year at Florida State.
Watson was the first prospect to sign his Natioanl Letter of Intent for FSU on signing day.
Number watch: Watson wore No. 45 for the Marist basketball team and then wore No. 75 at Saddleback Community College. Watson will have to choose a new number at FSU as Erving recently switched from No. 98 to No. 75 after switching from defense to offense.