Number: 32 | Hometown: East St Louis, IL | Height: 6000 | Weight: 230 | Forty: 4.70E | Class: 2018
A well-traveled player with plenty of experience, as he began his collegiate career as a four-start recruit at Kansas where he was recruited by Charlie Weiss. At the time, he had offers from schools such as Michigan, Cal, Missouri and TCU, amongst others. Weiss was soon fired and after playing two seasons primarily on special teams for the Jayhawks, he would decide to transfer to SIU in order to be closer to his daughter. He bided his time as a junior, splitting time at inside linebacker and waited patiently for his opportunity to start for the full-time for first time as a senior. He took full advantage of it, showcasing great strides in his overall game and tremendous leadership skills. He led a defensive unit that was made up entirely of underclassmen in 2017, demonstrating a lead by example mentality and doing a magnificent job calling out pre-snap reads and making sure his teammates were lined up in the right place. The hard-hitting, ultra-aggressive linebacker covers a lot of ground laterally but has also flashed the speed to strike up the middle for an occasional blitz and the athleticism to keep up with backs who pose as a threat coming out of the backfield as pass-catchers. A sound tackler who takes good pursuit angles and does a nice job of squaring up his shoulders on his way to delivering the boom. However, he can be a bit too overaggressive at times and over-pursue on occasion. He possesses a strong frame, thick thighs, shows stout strength and was a special teams standout on the kickoff coverage unit, displaying the ability to serve as a high-flying gunner, crash down walls and constantly showing up on film as the first defender down the field—he played special teams every season at both Kansas and SIU. Has some room for improvement in the footwork department against the pass, he tends to get caught bouncing on the balls of his feet. Would like to see him work on developing his slide-steps and back pedal techniques. Off the field, he serves as a mentor to middle school boys in Carbondale, IL. He also played basketball and baseball growing up. He’ll be battling the ‘small school’ and ‘undersized’ labels leading up to the draft. His pro day stands to answer many questions scouts will have about his size and speed. He could also generate some interest as a safety, as he possesses the frame to bulk up and stay at backer or slim down and be a ball-hawk safety. Teams who place an extra emphasis on special teams will likely carry a higher grade on this player, as that is one area where he can make an immediate impact as he transitions to the pros.
2017 (Sr.): Started all 11 games played … Made 75 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and three sacks … Added four quarterback hurries, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and one pass break up.
2016 (Jr.): Played in 10 games and started three at linebacker … Made 37 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and a sack … Season-high 11 tackles at Missouri State … Seven tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble vs. South Dakota State.
Kansas: Played in 15 games over two seasons at Kansas…Made 10 tackles, 1.0 TFL and recovered a fumble.
High School: Rated a four-star prospect by ESPN.com… Earned a three-star ranking from Rivals.com and Scout.com… ESPN rated him the ninth-best outside linebacker, fifth-best player in the state of Illinois and the 13th-best player in the Midlands region in the class of 2014… Rivals.com rated him 22nd in the nation at outside linebacker and 21st on the state of Illinois prospect list… Selected to play in the Semper Fidelis All-American game… A two-time all-state, all-metro and all-conference performer… Set a school record for single-season tackles with 165 stops in 2013… Recorded 21 tackles in a game as senior, setting the school single-game tackling mark… Also had 9.0 sacks and three interceptions in 2013… Tallied 142 tackles, 5.0 sacks and three interceptions as a junior… Played for head coach Darren Sunkett at East St. Louis HS… Also lettered in baseball, basketball, tennis and track and field.
Personal: Son of Renita Denzmore and Edward Watson… Chose Kansas over numerous offers, including California, Cincinnati, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Purdue, Syracuse and TCU… Intends to major in engineering.
Career Sacks Statistics