By Stephen Witt
One of the country’s most recruited high school tight ends in football signed a letter of intent to play for the University of Maryland. Lincoln High School’s Lansford Watson signed the letter last week in front of his proud family, Railsplitters coach Shawn O’Connor and school officials. “That [Maryland] seems to be the right place for me. It’s like the New York City area with Baltimore and Washington, DC nearby, but the campus is in the country,” said Watson, who lives in East Flatbush. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Watson credited his football play largely to his roots, starting when he was a nine-year-old playing for the Brooklyn Sky Hawks of the Pop Warner League. The games were played at the Prospect Park Parade Ground and Watson recalled how his coach, Dwayne Moore, promoted him to playing with 16- and 17-year-olds when he was 13. “That team is the inspiration that got me to play the way I play,” said Watson. Watson also noted that current Cleveland Browns linebacker Leon Williams also played for the Sky Hawks before graduating from Canarsie High School. Watson was sidelined for most of the year with a leg fracture, but caught 11 touchdown passes in 2006, and his size, strength and quickness drew the attention of the major football colleges. “Lansford was one of the top recruited players in the country. He was ranked #2 in the state by SCOUT.com and ranked #6 at his position in the country as tight end,” said O’Connor. O’Connor said other schools that offered Watson scholarships included USC, Florida, Florida State and Miami. “He’s a great kid. He’s been in the program for four years and after he broke his foot in the fifth game, he still stayed around for practices and served as a great role model for the younger kids,” O’Connor said. Watson, the youngest of four children, has a 2.8 grade point average and plans on majoring in business so he can eventually open up a hotel in his mother’s native Trinidad. However, Watson also chose Maryland because they have a history of sending tight ends to the NFL and that is clearly his mission. Among his favorite NFL players are Shannon Sharpe, Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates. “My goal is to play in the NFL. I don’t care who’s in front of me. I’m going to go out there and work, and do what I was taught,” he said.