Ray Lewis announced his retirement today, but not before one more young linebacker found inspiration in the Ravens' star.
East St. Louis High School junior Kyron Watson played linebacker for the first time this year, and it was through watching Lewis and others online that enabled him to have the great season he did.
"I just started playing linebacker. I played varsity last year, but I played fullback. This year, I played both ways. Coach Sunkett told me I had to step up and be a leader, and I had to do it, so watching Ray Lewis on YouTube and talking to my linebacker coach helped me a lot."
What else helped Watson?
"I like contact."
That is evident on his highlight tape where Watson delivers one violent collision after another. Despite his inexperience at the position, the 6'1, 210-lber made 118 tackles, had five sacks and three interceptions (one for a touchdown) while making All-Metro. Schools are just beginning to find out.
"Me and one of my other teammates, Greg Taylor, we have a visit to Kansas coming up. Coach Pantoni from Ohio State told me he liked my highlight tape and I was hitting on guys on it and they wanted me to come down there."
Along with Lewis, Watson says he also patterns his game after C.J. Mosely of Alabama, and the Crimson Tide are one of the schools he hopes to hear more from throughout the process.
"I like Missouri, I like Michigan State, and I like the University of Kansas and Notre Dame. I like those kind of schools. I look at schools' defense, and if they have good defense. I also like Alabama. They're one of my favorite schools."
In the off-season, Watson says he plans to head to some camps and combines.
Junior Highlights - LB #32