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Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Q&A: South Fayette WR Justin Watson

Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
South Fayette's Justin Watson runs in for a TD after a bobbled catch against Seton-La Salle at Baldwin High School on Friday, Sept. 28, 2012. South Fayette won, 51-12.

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Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Even more impressive than his 21.1 yards per catch average as a junior is Justin Watson's 4.0 grade-point average and 1,380 score on the SAT. So, it was no surprise that the 6-foot-2, 195-pound South Fayette wide receiver had offers to play in the Mid-American Conference and the Ivy League. After picking Penn, Watson is poised for a big senior season.

Q: How did you decide on which college to choose?

A: At first I didn't have an idea of where I wanted to go at all. I've always been a high academics guy and put an emphasis on my grades. Not many people can match a degree from Penn.

Q: How hard was it to pass up a Division-I scholarship?

A: Right now, I'm just a 17-year-old who loves playing football. It was tough to turn down going to a D-I school. Buffalo is playing at Ohio State, tough to let go the idea of playing in front of 100,000. But it just made a lot of sense for me to go to an Ivy League school.

Q: What did you learn most from playing with Pitt's Zach Challingsworth?

A: Zach is a great mentor for not only through the recruiting process but playing four years in our system. The biggest thing I learned is running routes: putting creativity in your routes, making your curl look like a fade and making a post break at the end, always keeping the corner off guard.

Q: What should we expect from you this season?

A: Last year, I was more of a possession guy. I'm focusing more on yards after catch this year. I think you'll see me lowering my shoulder more this year, trying to pick up yards with my size and speed. All I can say is it's going to be exciting, knowing that I'm going to be the go-to guy, the one the other team talks about all week. I'm accepting the challenge.

Q: What are your goals?

A: We talk every year about winning three championships: conference, WPIAL and state. Personal goals, I want to get better as a leader, to come out at practice and set an example for the younger guys. I want to eclipse 1,000 yards. That's always been a dream for me.

Q: What is your favorite tradition at South Fayette?

A: One thing that's cool is after the last regular-season practice, we pick up the seniors and carry them off the field. My four favorite underclassmen will pick me up at one corner of the field, carry me across and drop me in the locker room. It'll be cool to be on the other side of that.

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