Chatting With The Former Kentucky Star
For a college football senior being selected for a post-season all-star game is a huge deal. One of the more interesting games is the annual NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. Over the last decade the game allows players to showcase their talents while learning about the business of football. However in 2021 the game, like many other things in the world, was canceled due to COVID-19. As a result players had virtual position and individual meetings. In addition, Last Word On College Football got a chance to talk to Watson about a number of topics. Here is a conversation with Kentucky’s Jamar “Boogie” Watson.
A Conversation With Kentucky’s “Boogie” Watson
Meeting A Hall Of Famer
As part of the experience, players got to talk with current and former players. For Watson it was especially cool because he got to talk to Hall Of Famer Bruce Smith. The two are from the same area and he learned a lot.
“He (Smith) is from Virginia, and my entire family on both sides are from Virginia. I was taught the name and was watching his highlights since I was a young kid. I was star struck when I had a Zoom call with him. We talked for almost an hour and with his knowledge we talked about the game and pass rush in general.” He went on to say they discussed life in the NFL and how to take care of your body. What did Watson’s family think when he told them who he talked to?
“My dad was kind of speechless. I sent him a picture of the Zoom when Bruce Smith was talking. I sent him the picture and said ‘this is who I’m talking to’ and he was so excited because Smith is a legend in their hometown.”
More Great NFL Advice
In addition to Smith, Watson also talked with New Orleans Saints tight end Cameron Jordan. As part of the experience the NFLPA had presentations for the entire rosters and then broke them into position groups. Watson says he got great advice from the current Saint. “He gave me a quote that will stick with me my entire career. He said the moment you get into the league they’re trying to replace you. The older you get there’s always going to be a younger guy in next year’s draft that can do everything you do. That was a quote that stuck with me the most.”
When asked about how it’s shocking for players when they get into the league. “You grew up playing a game and it becomes a business.” Boogie responded “they both touched on the business aspect of it. You grow up playing in the front yard with your boys, your friends and family just tossing a ball around. When you get to the next level and it’s a business. You are trying to stay with it as long as possible and not get replaced.”
As we continue our conversation with “Boogie” Watson we talked about his strengths and what he needs to improve on at the next level.
Making It In The NFL
Boogie is being represented by Ron Butler and Agency 1 Sports Group, who are based out of Miami. During his career in Lexington, Watson finished with 18.5 sacks, ranking him fifth all-time at the school. Many of the traits that made him a good pass rusher will help him in the NFL. “I think my versatility is what I bring,” Watson said. “I started at Kentucky playing on special teams. I’ve also played inside and outside linebacker along with a straight pass rusher. My versatility can help teams at the next level. I think I can play special teams right away. Also I can give depth to either the inside or outside linebacker position.”
On the other side of the coin what area does Watson need to improve on in the NFL? “I think my hands in taking on a blocker and also as a blitzer. So many times on film, I’ve been caught looking into the backfield, allowing an offensive lineman to get his hands inside. My eyes and hands are the biggest things I need to work on.”
Building A Foundation
Watson, who graduated in May 2020 with a degree in sociology and a criminology minor, is part of a history making class for head coach Mark Stoops. The seniors won 37 games, the most in any five year span since 1949-1953. In addition, their 20 SEC wins are the most ever during a five year span. Taking it one more step, they ended the 31 year losing streak to Florida and won at Tennessee for the first time since 1984. They also went to five straight bowl games for only the second time in history. So how does Watson reflect on his time with the Wildcats?
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to play at Kentucky. When I got there we were not known as a football school.” He added, “with the principles Coach Stoops put in place and the standard he set for the team put us in step to get better each year. I think we got better each year and the records indicate that. We’ve turned into a respected program in the SEC, which is the best conference in the country.” Boogie added, “I think I’m leaving the program better than it was when I came. I think those guys are going to keep improving and taking the next steps.”
From watching us lose the Taxslayer bowl in 2016 as a redshirt to winning the Taxslayer bowl in the final game of my UK career. Been a helluva ride BBN. Thank you. -31 💙 pic.twitter.com/ZWsTZTYVUn
— BOOGIE (@JamarW31) January 2, 2021
When asked about Coach Stoops not getting the recognition that comes with a program on the rise Watson had this to say. “I think it’s because of his personality. He’s a blue-collar, work hard guy, not into fancy, flashy things. He just wants to put his head down and work hard and has instilled that within the team. I think he’s a great coach and a very player oriented coach.”
— BOOGIE (@JamarW31) December 6, 2020
About That Nickname
You can’t have a conversation with Jamar “Boogie” Watson without asking him where his nickname comes from. “When I was a kid I was playing on a basketball team. Me and another kid had the same name. So we would get confused when we were all on the same court together and the coach would yell our name. It came to the point where one of us had to come up with a nickname. My dad’s nickname is Bookie so they just came up with Boogie and swapped out the K for a G. It’s crazy how well it stuck.”
How well did the name stick? Watson says people forget his name is Jamar. “There have been a couple of players on my team at Kentucky who didn’t even know my name at one point.”
A huge thank you to Watson and the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl for talking with us here at Last Word On College Football. Thank you to all the readers who enjoyed a conversation with “Boogie” Watson.