UNLV signs Kyle Watkins; 1st Grid Falcon at Div. I

By Pete Mohr | June 25, 2008

kyle watkinsCAVE CREEK – Somewhere in the Book of Proverbs can be found this pronouncement: “A prophet is without honor in his own country.”

The same might be said for standout high school football players who don’t rate a sniff from their in-state universities. Kyle Watkins (CSHS ’07) holds – probably forever – all Cactus Shadows receiving records, including his 21 catches/two touchdowns performance in the Falcons 28-14 victory, Dec. 2, 2006, over Higley that capped a magical 15-0 4A Conference – Division II State Championship season. The silence from Tucson and Tempe was deafening.

Watkins likely could have gone to West Point, but the military environment wasn’t for him. Boise State and UNLV seriously recruited him, but went with other choices in their final selections. So what did “The Wild Horse” do? He enrolled at Scottsdale Community College where, as a freshman, he played with his Falcon teammates Trace Stephens and Sean January.

With typical modesty, Watkins evaluated to Sonoran News: “I think I matured as a person and an athlete.” And, under the watchful eye of Strength & Conditioning Coach Ethan Banning, he grew to a panther-like 250 pounds!

Now Watkins’ patience and commitment to football has come full circle, as on Monday, June 23, he accepted and signed an agreement to play, on a full scholarship, for the UNLV Rebels of the Mountain West Conference (which includes Air Force, BYU, Colorado State, Wyoming, TCU, New Mexico and Utah).

During his June 19 visit (with stepdad Mike Gibson) to UNLV, Rebels Head Coach Mike Sanford “told me they really need a tight end who can put his hand in the dirt (translate “block”) and be a productive receiver. He wants me to come in and play this year.”

Falcon Head Coach Chad DeGrenier, who helped keep Watkins on UNLV’s recruiting “radar”: “Obviously, I couldn’t be more pleased for Kyle. I congratulate him on being the first Football Falcon to play at the Division I level. I predict he’ll have three great seasons at UNLV. Selfishly, that should improve the visibility of Cactus Shadows Football – hopefully benefiting our future D-I prospects. And we will have ‘em!”

And how does Watkins’ #1 fan, Mom Debbie Gibson, feel about having her only son playing a five-hour drive away? I didn’t even have to ask her!

“Ain’t nobody gonna stop The Wild Horse!” Watkins, quietly, on the Sept. 13 match-up of his Rebels with Arizona State at Sun Devil Stadium: “It would be really nice if I can make a couple of big plays.” He can count on quite a delegation of Falcon fans to cheer him on!

Congratulations and good luck, Kyle!

Photo caption: ON TO HIGHER PASTURES! CSHS Head Coach Chad DeGrenier (l.) congratulates Kyle Watkins, a/k/a “The Wild Horse,” on his June 23 signing by UNLV to a full athletic scholarship. Watkins reports to Las Vegas for Football Camp, Aug. 3, and can be seen in action at tight end when the PAC 10 Sun Devils host the Mountain West Rebels, Saturday evening, Sept. 13.“Can’t nobody stop ‘The Wild Horse’!"
Photo by Pete Mohr


Congratulations to the following CSHS Seniors for receiving CSHS Booster Club Scholarships this year:  Dylan DeBusk, Ryan Sterner, Rebecca Storck, Mackenzie Wadas and Kelly Wilcox. Best wishes on you future endeavors!