KATHLEEN — Veterans had three players sign football scholarships Wednesday, including the first player to sign with an FBS program. Cortez Broughton signed with Cincinnati, while Chris Watts is headed to West Georgia and Maalik Leggette signed with St. Augustine’s in North Carolina.
“When it came down to it, I felt that Cincinnati was a better fit for me as a football player and as a student,” said Broughton, who had been committed to Middle Tennessee State. “I want to major in chemical engineering, and I thought that Cincinnati fit my needs a little better. Middle Tennessee is a great school, and that made my decision very difficult, but in the end, I am happy with my decision.”
Broughton, who will play somewhere in the defensive line for the Bearcats, knows that making the move to a Division I football program will be difficult.
“I know I have a long way to go as a football player, but I plan on working as hard as I can to play as quickly as I can,” said Broughton, who is still just 17 years old. “The possibility of redshirting does not bother me at all, and I guess that is a possibility, but right now I am just ready to be the best student-athlete I can be.”
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Watts, who will play tight end for West Georgia, admits to not even thinking about college football being a possibility until recently.
“Really, I didn’t even start thinking about it till my senior year got started,” said Watts, who also considered Mercer as a college choice. “When I started having some good games, I started hoping that I would get the chance, and things have just worked out for me. I know I have to keep working hard to get bigger and stronger, but I feel like I am ready for the challenge. I won’t ever forget what Veterans High School has done for me, and before I came here, I had a choice of where I wanted to go to high school, and everything worked out great.
“We got beat up for a few years, and everyone looked at us as an easy win. I am glad that my senior class was the class that changed that.”
Leggette, who will play free safety at St. Augustine’s, a Division II program, waited even longer to know if he would get the chance at a scholarship.
“I finished my football season and had not heard from anyone,” said Leggette, who also plays basketball for the Warhawks. “St. Augustine’s got in touch with me about a month ago, and I went for a visit and loved it. The campus is very diverse, and it’s right in the middle of Raleigh, so there are plenty of things to do. I was thinking that I would probably have to walk on somewhere if I was going to keep playing football, so I just feel very blessed that this opportunity came up. I want to represent my high school as well as I can, and I feel like if I do well, they will take a look at more players from Veterans.”