TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State offensive lineman Menelik Watson began the season having played just eight games of organized football in his life. He ended it as perhaps the team's top lineman, and he plans to announce his intention to enter the NFL draft, according to two sources close to the player.
Watson, a native of England, started 12 games at right tackle for Florida State this season, his first after transferring from Saddleback College in California. He was an integral part in a revamped offensive line for FSU, which allowed 14 fewer sacks than it had the previous season and nearly doubled its rushing yardage.
Watson came to the United States on a basketball scholarship to Marist and played for two years before deciding to give football a try. After just eight games at Saddleback, he was widely recruited by dozens of top schools.
At 6-foot-6, 320 pounds, Watson's combination of size and athleticism allowed for a quick transition to football, and by mid-August, he'd secured the starting job at right tackle for FSU. Only a few nagging injuries slowed him this season, but they also proved his value. In the 10 quarters he missed due to injury, FSU allowed 10 sacks. In the other 11.5 games he played, the Seminoles gave up just 16.
Watson reportedly submitted paperwork to NFL evaluators who suggested he would likely be a second-round selection.