Photo courtesy of Old Dominion athletics
As a redshirt sophomore, Blake Watson is one of the more experienced members of the Old Dominion running back room.
Watson, along with fellow redshirt sophomore LaLa Davis, and junior Matt Geiger are expected to be the leaders of the running back group for the Monarchs. Redshirt freshman Keyshawn Wicks, and true freshmen Obie Sanni and Jon Luke Peaker should also contribute.
ODU is only in the second week of spring practice, so exact roles are yet to really be ironed out. Watson however, has proven in the past to be capable of contributing in a plethora of ways.
In 2019, Watson went for 116 yards on the ground along with a touchdown. The Queens, N.Y. native also proved himself to be an option in the passing game. That year, he caught 13 passes for 79 yards.
“There’s a lot of new things and a lot of things to be excited about,” Watson said of the new offense. “I’m excited to get going in this new offense; its been a lot of work to learn it but it’s fun, and I’m excited about it. It’s something that I look forward to and I like to do, scoring touchdowns and putting up yards, it’s exciting.”
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Watson wasn’t just a threat on the ground and in the passing game in 2019. He also made the Conference USA All-Freshman team as a kick returner after a season that saw him average 26.4 yards per return.
“Kick returning is something that I enjoy,” Watson exclaimed. “It’s something that was fun for me in 2019, and I just play whatever role and do whatever I need to do for the team. I’m happy to do whatever I need to do and kick return again this year.”
Watson and Davis came in the same year, and both have enjoyed success while in the backfield for the Monarchs. The two share a bond, but that bond goes beyond just two people.
“It feels great having Lala with me,” Watson said. “He and I have built great chemistry coming in together. We are very comfortable with each other. With Matt Geiger, we have a very strong running back room. The freshman Jon Luke (Peaker); I trust everybody in there.”
With his versatility a huge asset for ODU, Watson could be poised for a breakout year as head coach Ricky Rahne looks for explosive plays out of the backfield.