Our countdown of the top 25 football players on the 2013 Notre Dame football roster continues to steamroll towards the top spot with our #8 ranked player – offensive guard Chris Watt.
After “redshirting” as a freshman in Charlie Weis’s final season as the head coach at Notre Dame, Chris Watt stepped into a backup role in 2010 seeing action in all 13 games. As a junior, Watt stepped into the starting lineup for the Irish and has started the last 26 games for Notre Dame at left guard.
Teaming with Zack Martin on the left side of the Notre Dame offensive line, Chris Watt has helped completely stabilize that side of the line for the past two seasons and heading into his final year of eligibility, Watt will team with Martin again this year to form one of the most formidable left tackle-guard combos in the entire country.
Why Chris Watt could be ranked higher
Watt is an experienced starter who has a NFL future ahead of himself and could find himself mentioned as an All-American by the end of the year if all goes well for him and the Notre Dame offense. For that to happen, a clear #1 running back will need to emerge so that the Irish have a solid ground game to gain Watt enough attention.
At 6-3, 321 lbs, Watt is a massive guard who plays with a mean streak and if he elevates his game to the next level, he has the potential to be one of the best players on the 2013 roster. So far in two years as a starter, Watt has been very solid. If he can continue to progress this year he has the potential to be a dominant player this year. If that happens, Watt will move his way up draft boards. Right now Watt is ranked as the 9th best OG eligible for the 2014 Draft by CBS.
Why Chris Watt could be ranked lower
Sometimes for offensive line perception is just as important as production and there are a couple of wildcards with the 2013 Notre Dame offense that could make the performances of Notre Dame’s offensive linemen like Watt be overlooked. Will George Atkinson or another back grab hold of the top spot of the depth chart and give Notre Dame a reliable ground game like Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood did a year ago?
How will the offense look with Tommy Rees under center with Everett Golson out of school until January? If Rees isn’t able to reduce his turnovers and the Irish offense takes a step back this year, the play of the offensive line will be overlooked and no matter how strong the y play, it won’t matter.
What would a successful season in 2013 be for Chris Watt?
Chris Watt has already started 26 games in his career and for 2013 to be successful, he will need to start another 13 this season. He has been reliable and steady at left guard for the past two seasons and there is no reason to think that he won’t do the same again this year.
Notre Dame probably won’t face more frequent pressure with Rees at quarterback since the blueprint to stop him has been to drop eight men into coverage and force him to fit the ball into tight windows, but they probably will face some more exotic pressures at times since Rees can’t escape pressure like Golson could. That is where Notre Dame will need the experience of Watt to help give Rees enough time to get rid of the ball.
If Notre Dame has a 1,000 yard back and Rees throws for over 3,000 yards, Chris Watt will have had a great season because that will mean that the Irish offense was able to continue to improve despite losing its starting quarterback for the season.
#9 – Sheldon Day – DL
#10 – George Atkinson – RB
#11 – Keivarae Russell - CB
#12 – Matthias Farley – S
#13 – Troy Niklas – TE
#14 – Tommy Rees – QB
#15 – Amir Carlisle – RB
#16 - Danny Spond – OLB
#17 - Dan Fox - ILB
#18 – Jarrett Grace – ILB
#19 – Greg Bryant – RB
#20 – Christian Lombard – RT
#21 – Elijah Shumate - S
#22 – Jaylon Smith - OLB
#23 – Ishaq Williams – OLB/DE
#24 - Max Redfield - S
#25 - CJ Prosise - WR