Roderick Watkins signs to next level for football, track – News Courier

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Roderick Watkins of Lindsay Lane signs to the next level to Kansas Wesleyan University to play football and run track. 

Roderick Watkins of Lindsay Lane signs to the next level to Kansas Wesleyan University to play football and run track. 
Roderick Watkins, a multi-sport athlete from Lindsay Lane, became the first football player from the school to sign a scholarship to the collegiate level, going to Kansas Wesleyan to play football as well as run track.
According to head football coach for Lindsay Lane, Jeremy Williams, Watkins has been a staple to building the foundation for the continuously growing football program at the school.
Watkins did not start playing football until, according to Williams, around the age of 12, when Lindsay Lane first started their Pee Wee program (this program has since turned into a Varsity program, with 2022 being their first year of competition at that level).
“It goes back to when we invested in football at Lindsay Lane. We started with Pee Wee, and ended up with around 18 kids. On the final day (of sign-ups), Roderick shows up, comes running up to the gate and says he wants to play football.”
Despite his background at the time being in soccer, Watkins adjusted to football quickly, starting off at receiver until moving over to quarterback further into his career.
Once making the move, Williams realized Watkins had a “cannon for an arm,” with mechanics that needed fine-tuning, but mechanics and fundamentals that also reminded him of one of the greats to play the position: Deshaun Watson, formerly of Clemson and now with the Cleveland Browns.
Realizing his immense potential, Williams challenged Watkins to begin studying film of Watson’s time at Clemson, where his finished in the top 3 for the Heisman multiple times, participated in two national championships, including winning one over The University of Alabama in 2016.
What happened next left an impression on Williams, as Watkins quickly showed improvements on the football field due to his willingness to study film of Watson, leading to Williams referring to his QB as a “studying nerd.”
Watson thrived at Clemson by being patient enough to let the play develop, a trait that Williams says Watkins picked up as he matured in his time at quarterback.
However, what exemplifies Watkins’ resolve more than anything he did on the football field or on the track was something he did on his own.
With Lindsay Lane methodically increasing their football program’s prestige – which began six years ago – they have also methodically increased their resources for the sport.
Watkins wanted to be recruited to the next level. However, at the time, Lindsay Lane was still growing, and had not yet established themselves a presence on Hudl, a platform used for players to get recruited and to post film.
However, according to Williams, Watkins cut and edited his own film, went on social media platforms such as Twitter and garnered interest from coaches in what was truly a grassroots effort.
“He basically did that himself,” Williams said.
Williams also says he ends up receiving calls from coaches such as Kansas Wesleyan and Faulkner University, who want to know more about Watkins, or are in the area and want to come by the school.
Watkins would end up being recruited mainly by the two aforementioned programs, as well as Huntingdon in Montgomery.
With Kansas Wesleyan giving him the option to run track and play football, Watkins chose them as his next home.
His character is something that separates him from others, according to his two running coaches, Kareem Cannon and Adam Wilburn, and Williams as well.
Additionally, Cannon is Watkins’ step-father, who is proud to see the work he has put in to get to the next level.
Wilburn says his willingness to put others first is something special.
“He has always been a great athlete in any sport he has participated in,” Wilburn said. “However, what sets him apart is that he has always looked out for his teammates. He has always treated my son Xander as his little brother. He would do extra time in the gym with him and after practice to help Xander get better. He has always been willing to help out others. He is truly a great athlete, but an even better person. I will truly miss him; the school will not be the same without him here.”
Coach Williams echoed much of the same.
“He is someone with a great upbringing on both sides of his family,” Williams said. “He has a great backing.”
While his character, athleticism and love for both sports highlights the beginning of a journey for a young man moving on to college, Williams notes something specifically special and unique about Watkins.
“He promoted himself from a JV football program to a college program,” he said.
Cannon can now watch as Watkins moves on to live out his athletic dreams.
“He is definitely a D-1 talent,” Cannon said. “Coaches don’t even realize what hidden jewel they have.”
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