Oct. 21, 2013
By Jon Cooper
Broderick Snoddy is one lucky guy, at least if you believe that old axiom that you can’t hit what you can’t catch.
Snoddy is the only guy on Georgia Tech’s roster that redshirt senior linebacker Brandon Watts will admit is faster than he is. When you consider that Snoddy proved he was one of the fastest sprinters at both the ACC and NCAA Track and Field Championships and no football players that competed in those championships came in ahead of him, well, you see where the luck comes in.
“I’d like to think I’m one of the fastest linebacker in the nation but on the team only Broderick’s got me. That’s about it,” said Watts, who is second on Georgia Tech in tackles with 35 tackles (24 solo), two behind DB Jemea Thomas.
Watts had been leading the team and was in the top 20 in the ACC prior to last week’s Syracuse game. But against the Orange, Thomas had seven stops, while Watts made one, the first game of the year where he did NOT have a multi-tackle game. It was only the second time Watts hadn’t made more than one stop in 21 games over the last two seasons.
Don’t bother asking him about it, though. He doesn’t keep track of stats.
“I’m aware because I hear other people talk about it,” said Watts, who matched his career-high and set the team-season-high with nine stops in the opener against Elon. “I don’t really look into it that much. I just try to go out there and do whatever I need to do for the team to be successful.”
That means making tackles. Lots of them. In every game.
To show how rare the Syracuse game was, Watts has had at least eight tackles in a game three different times this season (against Elon, two weeks later against Duke then two weeks after that against Virginia Tech). Eight-tackle games are not nearly as easy as Watts makes them look, however, as only Quayshawn Nealy and Jabari Hunt-Days have had games with at least eight stops and they have done it one time each.
Nealy, who plays Will Linebacker on the opposite side of Watts’ Sam has great respect for Watts and is enjoying the great year he’s having.
“It’s a great feeling to see a brother — he’s become a brother to me — to watch him ball out and to see him having the season that he’s having,” said Nealy. “I wish him nothing but success.”
Watts and Nealy share a brotherhood not only as linebackers but also as former roommates.
“We all came in together. Quayshawn and I were roommates for a whole year. So we all kind of have that bonding,” said Watts. “In the meeting room every day we all sit with each other. It’s a unique thing. It helps on the field also when you have that bond with your teammates.”
That brotherhood was tested early in their relationship.
“It was kind of different because when I first came in we were competing for the same position,” Nealy recalled. “B-Watts was a middle linebacker then and when I came in I thought I was going to be outside. But in Coach Groh’s defense it was like I was too small to be outside so he moved me inside. We ended up competing.
“It was awkward the first couple of weeks because I’m away from home anyway,” he added. “I’m a freshman being around those guys. But I warmed up to them because we were around each other 24/7, whether we were working out or were watching film and got to know each other. So after that first week or two or so it was fine. He’s been a cool guy, a great guy to be around. It’s been good ever since.”
The linebacking unit has been very good. Watts calls it the best he’s played with since arriving on the Flats in 2009.
“From my freshman year to now I think it’s the best group we ever had athletically and probably talent-wise,” he said. “We have a real good group. Everybody in the group from the ones, the twos, the threes, everybody’s good.”
That kind of praise would make good Twitter material for Watts, an admitted big Twitter guy, who has over a thousand followers — he is proudest of having teammate Jeremiah Attaochu following him “Jeremiah is a celebrity around here,” he said with a laugh) and most enjoys following Jemea Thomas.
He’s just not going to post it.
“I post when I’m bored or when a good game is on,” he said. “I like to comment a lot. I’m a big commentator.”
He’ll comment but he also also knows when not to.
“I respect everybody that we play so I never have anything bad to say about anybody,” he said. “Coaches warn us but that’s something that you should know. You don’t want to give your team a bad name or a bad rep. It’s something you should just know.”
People around the nation should know him and he has mixed emotions that people are starting to.
He’s proud to have been on the preseason Butkus Award Watch List, but is less excited about the frequency with which opponents are probably bringing up his name in strategy sessions.
“It’s nice to know it,” he said. “At the same time it isn’t nice to have someone running at you every play so you can’t run around and make too many plays. It is nice to know that people notice you, though.”
Get Sting Daily in your e-mail box — it’s free! Just register here to get the latest features on Georgia Tech Athletics.