Second year Hutto High Hippos football coach Brad LaPlante likens star junior weak-side defensive end and outside linebacker Landyn Watson to a cornerstone of a well-built house.
That’s because the 6-foot-3, 240-pound Watson himself is the foundation of a unit LaPlante touted as having one of the best defensive lines in the state.
“He has the ability to affect every play,” LaPlante told Texas Scorecard. “He’s just that kind of player. He has a great motor. He’s got a great first step. [He] changes direction. He uses his hands and feet so well; he plays with great leverage.”
Watson first saw action with the varsity when he was a freshman. LaPlante said that “The Good Lord certainly gave [Watson] some dimensions,” recalling an instance almost three years ago in which he pointed him out to his wife.
“I said, ‘Hey, we got a new kid coming in this year,’” the coach said. “I pointed him out and said, ‘What year do you think he is?’ She guessed he was a junior just by looking at his body prototype and all that. That tells you a little bit about how far ahead of the skill he was even as a freshman.”
Watson’s propensity to disrupt opposing offenses since the ninth grade translated into a career line that reads 93 tackles, 27 tackles for loss, and 12.5 sacks.
During the third quarter of a 38-14 victory over Georgetown High last year, LaPlante explained, Watson went on a tear to “take over the entire game.”
“It was three plays in a row,” he said. “Even on one play, he got twisted and turned, and made the tackle just through the hips. It was even like his hands were going through the tackle … he just made it happen.”
The coach further recollected another game during the same season in which the opposing quarterback, who was a second-stringer pressed into service following an injury to the starter, decided to literally lay down as a speeding Watson bulldozed towards him.
“He knew it was coming,” LaPlante said. “He was going to hawk him down from the back side. He runs so well at those dimensions.”
Watson garnered playoff experience under LaPlante and retired legendary head coach Steve Van Meter. His versatility and power drew the attention of more than 20 schools. LSU received a verbal commitment from Watson last month.
“[A] big good deal for him and his family,” LaPlante said. “That’s awesome.”
Hutto’s defense will not be guided by Watson alone. The future Tiger has solid reinforcements in Lordswell Uwa and Braylon Sugg.
“He’s actually got some buddies that are going to help him out,” LaPlante said. “He’s going to get double-teamed and he’s going to draw plenty of attention, but they can’t do that play in and play out because we got two kids there that are pretty darn good. He’s going to have a chance to make some plays no doubt.”
Watson will help LaPlante and the Hippos build upon 2018’s impressive 11-1 campaign. Their season will begin up north on Aug. 31 when they take on West Mesquite High in a late morning matchup.