AggieYell.com continues its countdown to the start of the 2014 season with its 30 players in 30 days feature on the most important players to Texas A&M's success for the upcoming campaign. The list continues with number 18, safety Armani Watts.
Height/Weight: 5'11", 190 lbs.
2013 Statistics: 64 tackles, 9 INTs and 1 Forced Fumble at North Forney High School; All-District selection
Why he's on the list: Because he came into fall camp, won the trust of the coaching staff and, eventually, the starting free safety job. Watts was initially in a rotation on the second team with fellow freshman Donovan Wilson, but an injury to senior Floyd Raven gave Watts an opportunity to move up.
Given that opportunity, the freshman made the most of things and impressed the coaching staff with not only his playmaking ability, but his knowledge of the defense. Considering the number of blunders repeatedly made by the safeties last year, Watts' ability to learn quickly also stood out.
"He's proven he's willing to tackle and makes good decisions. He's a young guy, but we've been pleased by his development," head coach Kevin Sumlin said. "The mistakes he has made, the next practice or the next day, he's not making those mistakes."
While not a big safety, Watts has plenty of speed and has shown a willingness to tackle. Still, it's his ability to play consistently and minimize mistakes that has stood out to the coaching staff.
"I feel like I can trust him," defensive coordinator Mark Snyder said. "He's got range and he's a pretty good tackler."
If he's up to Snyder's trust, then the Aggies may have an answer for the next several years.