Players of the Pine Belt: Petal's Natorian Watts


There are plenty of talented wide outs to emulate for high schoolers. All bring their own flavor to today’s game.

Petal’s Natorian Watts, though, prefers to take it back a little. He patterns his game after one of the best ever: fellow Mississippi native Jerry Rice.

"They always looked to him to make the big plays and he always came through," Watts said. "That’s what I’m looking to do this year."

If Watts’ performance in 2016 is any indication he should be in line to do just that. The senior routinely made plays in the passing the Panthers a legitimate deep threat.

"I think he’s just a kid that’s a highly competitive kid that wants the ball in critical situations and was a heck of a player for us as a junior," Panthers coach Marcus Boyles said. "(I'm) expecting a lot bigger things out of him as a senior."

Watts offers a diverse set of skills on the field. He’s can make the tough catches, speed by would be tacklers and show off his athleticism by grabbing the ball out of the air.

"I think his jumping ability," Boyles said. "Catches the ball really well with his hands. Has great speed. He’s been clocking at 4.45 ..4.46 at some camps. His understanding of the game and how to get open."

Watts expects an even bigger role this season.

"I should get more touches this year," he said. "They’re looking for me to lead the team. Be the play maker on the team. We’re looking pretty good. We opened up the playbook more. We’ve got receivers to look forward to this yea and running game looking pretty good. We’re just going to be good this year."

The Petal program is no stranger to great offensive talents. The Panthers featured one just a year ago with running back Stephon Huderson. He’s now at Tulane.

With his eye on the greats, Watts is on track to continue this tradition.

"I’m preparing to lead this team to state man," Watts said. "We’ve been working hard over the summer. We just finished summer workouts with a combine. The team is working hard. We’re going to have a good season."

Boyles said Watts has what it takes to lead the way.

"You just think his leadership ability first of all," he said. "Obviously he’s a great football player but just what he brings to the weight room, to practice every day. Just works hard and he’s what we want in our program. A kid like him that’s just going to come to work every day, have a great attitude and work hard."