In January 2012 Menelik Watson committed to the Florida State Seminoles – to play football. And even at this football obsessed school, the overwhelming reaction was "who?"
Bloggers began looking into his backstory and it turned out that he originally went throught he Canarias Basketball Academy in Spain, and that only happened because the coach stumbled across him at an obscure tournament in 2006. "He comes from a very tough background," said Rob Orellana. "Single mom, and one of the toughest neighborhoods in England."
He ended up playing basketball for Marist where he reshirted a season, and then averaged 4.7 points and 3.3 rebounds as a freshman. After that season he transferred to Saddleback Community College (CA) where he was exposed to football for the first time. He also tried his hand at professional boxing.
Once he caught he football bug at Saddleback CC then he knew that was his game. He didn't have a position. He didn't know what he was doing. But he pretty much abandoned basketball and threw everything at football.
He only played eight games at Saddleback, but that's all it took. Offers came in from FSU, Auburn and others, and ultimately he became a Seminole. While the Noles basketball team certainly could have used his rebounding this season, Menelik focused on football.
Now he's one of the more well-travelled 2nd round draft picks in the NFL.