Humboldt State linebacker Demetrick Watts II in action as defense attempts to stop Western Oregon's drive down the field in a home game on September 22. | Photo by Walter Hackett

Like father like son

Jacks standout defender keeps family legacy alive

Football player keeps legacy alive

Humboldt State sophomore linebacker and Lumberjacks team captain Demetrick Watts II was named Great Northwest Athletic Conference defensive player of the week, Oct. 8, for his performance against Simon Fraser.

The six-foot 225-pound run stopper and pass protector stifled the Simon Fraser offense, with 8 tackles, 1 for a loss, a sack, and the eventual game-winning fumble recovery in the end zone for a touchdown.

“It brought me back to high school,” Watts said. “It was a beautiful feeling and getting GNAC defensive player means everything to me.”

Watts’ touchdown against Simon Fraser wasn’t the first of his career. A young Watts always wanted to be an NFL star.

“He had passion as a seven-year-old,” Watts’ grandmother, Barbera Numan said. “He needs to keep swinging those doors open and stay motivated like he is and I believe it’s possible.”

At Hillcrest High School in Riverside, California, Watts stood out as a two-way player. His running back strength and quickness showed through his original offensive position. On defense, he was the best linebacker in the league winning MVP twice. Watts also earned All-River Valley League Honors and the Athlete of the Year Award for the Citrus Belt League in 2015.

Like the love for football, Watts shares many things with his father, including his name. Watts’ father passed away when he was a freshman at Hillcrest High. His passing was due to a blood clot in his leg. Watts moved in with his grandmother who lived down the street and continued at Hillcrest for the remainder of high school.

“His dad was also an athlete,” Numan said. “He played football at Sonoma State. But you know, he had a family and he lost the vision. He was a family man now.”

Watts’ father worked with him on drills, conditioning, and different aspects of what it meant to be an athlete, let alone a football player. They were very close, his father helped mold Watts both on and off the field.

“Demetrick won many awards but he was always so humble,” Numan said. “That made me happy. He was a positive child, and became a respectful adult.”

Coming into Humboldt State, Watts redshirted his freshman year but was always at practice and his favorite spot, the weight room. The recreation administration major would routinely be in the gym for two-a-days. Coaches talk about the discipline and work ethic behind Watts, and how much time he puts in off the clock.

“Monday is my ideal day, I get my big lifts in,” Watts said. “Getting my legs under me and grounded makes me feel great.”

Samuel Barfield, Watts’ cousin, was an incoming freshman this year and plays tight end for the Jacks. Sam is new to football, playing mostly basketball, but he still loves the sport.

Barfield gets to witness the daily grind of Watts’ work ethic and looks up to him as his older cousin. Football became an avenue to help Barfield get out of the crime area of Riverside that they both call home. He thanks his older cousin for this.

“I’ve always wanted to play aside my cousin,” Barfield said. “Whatever he does I want to copy. I know I’ll be good if I follow him. Our city is bad right now. People don’t get out and football is all we got.”

Just like Watts, Barfield plans to continue his football career at another university considering Humboldt State recently decided to cut the program due to financial issues.

“I love football and I put my everything into this,” Watts said.

The Humboldt State Lumberjacks will play their very last football game Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Redwood Bowl against rival Azusa Pacific at 1 p.m. The seniors will be honored in remembrance of their journey here as a Jack.

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