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Saint Mark’s Luke Watson poised for big year for Spartans in football after commitment to Temple

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Luke Watson runs sprints on the first day of football practice, Aug. 8. Watson has committed to play in college at Temple. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

MILLTOWN — The Saint Mark’s football team got back to work in preparation for the 2022 season on Aug. 8, and under the blazing sun, Luke Watson joined his teammates as they sweated through a series of sprints.

Watson, a two-way lineman, is poised for a big season for the Spartans, who reached the postseason last year for the first time since 2014. He won’t have to worry about making any decisions about college, however. Watson committed earlier this summer to Temple University and will sign with the Owls later this year.

Temple plays in the Division I Football Bowl Series, the highest level of college football. Watson committed to the Philadelphia school after getting a number of offers from FBS as well as football championship series teams. His other FBS offers came from Akron, Old Dominion and Massachusetts.

The Owls’ interest increased after Stan Drayton took over as head coach last December, Watson said. It is close to home, and the school has a very good sports management program. The chance to play at the highest level of college football was enticing, he continued.

Luke Watson posted this on Twitter after making his decision.

“I definitely wanted to set myself up better for my football career. I had very good opportunities for football in the FCS realm, but I kind of made the decision to go FBS,” Watson said.

His commitment marked the end of a whirlwind of travel for Watson, who chronicled his movement through social media. Making the rounds was very helpful, he said.

“Going around and seeing some of these places was definitely helpful,” he said. “Narrowed some out, narrowed some in. Made a tough decision.”

Saint Mark’s football coach Joe Wright credited his coaching staff for helping get Watson to this level, but the player deserves is most responsible, doing everything that needed to be done, even when no one was watching.

“He’s just developed into a great football player, but an even better young man,” Wright said. “He put in the work and he deserves it. He’s just a great young man. He’s everything you want in a football player. It makes our job a lot easier when he’s out there for us. I feel more comfortable calling plays with him in there.”

Wright said a lot of students enter high school with dreams of playing in college, “but it’s not that easy.” The coaches do everything they can to help — and most of the staff at Saint Mark’s has collegiate playing experience — but it’s up to the students to make sure they can cut it on the field and in the classroom. Watson, he said, has been working at this for years.

Watson stands out at Saint Mark’s, checking in a 6-5 and 270 pounds, but Wright believes he could put on another 30-35 pounds and still be as athletic as he is now. In addition to football, he is a member of the spring track team, and he is considering a return to basketball this winter after sitting out last year to concentrate on his recruiting.

Luke Watson makes a tackle for the Spartans last season in a playoff win against Howard.

Watson said the Spartans’ football team, with a solid senior core, can advance past the second round, which is where the 2021 season ended.

“Everyone’s definitely competing. It’s good to see that we know we can get there. Obviously, a championship is what we have in mind,” he said.

Off the field, he has an equally lofty goal. “Straight ‘A’s is my goal. Solid academic year to finish high school would be good.”

He is excited to see Saint Mark’s on the rise again and notes that his senior class is easily the smallest in the building.

“It’s kind of weird,” he said. “We’re going to be the smallest class by far here now. The seniors will be walking around with a hundred more sophomores and freshmen and juniors.”