(CBS Local)– Tre Watson was one of the best linebackers in the country this past season.
The former Maryland linebacker had over 100 tackles, helped the Terps beat a ranked Texas team and was named to the First Team in the Big 10. While Watson experienced personal success on the field, the 2019 Terps season will always be remembered as the first one following the death of Jordan McNair. Watson only knew McNair for a short time, but he is someone he will never forget.
“I was only there for a couple of months and he was coming off his first year,” said Watson in an interview with CBS Local. “I had played against him in practice and we had worked out together. He seemed like a chill, relaxed guy. Everything I heard from everyone else is that he had a great personality. Guys really enjoyed him and I can definitely agree with that. I really feel for him and his family. I follow his Mom on Twitter and we talk a lot. Jordan is with us now and forever. We played for him this season and I’ll play for him the rest of the time I’m playing this game.”
Watson is preparing for next week’s NFL Draft and he’s already had meeting with the New York Giants, Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers. The future NFL linebacker was on the field May 29, 2018 when McNair collapsed from heatstroke.
“Every guy has their own little memory. When you’re in conditioning, everyone is in some sort of survival mode,” said Watson. “It’s not fun, you don’t like it and it was our first day being back. You know it’s going to be tough and hot outside. Like you said, you understand a difference between a guy struggling with the run which happens all the time versus he might need some help. He got pushed a little too far. Ultimately, that wasn’t the best and he didn’t get enough care that he needed. They could’ve helped him in the long run and that’s just tough.”
McNair ended up passing away on June 13, 2018. Between his experiences at Maryland and playing for multiple head coaches at the University of Illinois, Watson battled a lot of adversity during his collegiate career. Watson’s father played in the league for a few seasons and he’s excited to follow in his dad’s footsteps.
“He said the first game he ever brought me to was when he played for the Giants,” said Watson. “As a little kid you dream about certain things and a lot of those things I’ve had the opportunity to accomplish lately. Being an All-American, getting an interception in front of 100,000 people, those are things you sit back and say I want to do that in a video game. I’ve gotten to do those things in real life. I signed a deal with Under Armour and getting paid to wear someone else’s clothes… it doesn’t get any better than that.”