Chris Watt is the Chargers’ heir apparent at center.
The team’s third-round draft pick in 2014, he gained a wealth of experience as a rookie, seeing action in 12 games, while starting five at center. Watt also saw time at right guard and on special teams.
As a senior at Notre Dame, Watt was part of an offensive line that allowed just eight sacks, tied for second-fewest in the nation. At the end of the season, he received the school’s Pietrosante Award, which is given to Notre Dame football student-athletes who best exemplify the courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and pride of the late Irish All-American fullback. Pietrosante was Notre Dame’s leading rusher in 1957 and ‘58 and he went on to become a number-one draft pick and a two-time All-Pro selection with the Detroit Lions. Pietrosante died of cancer on Feb. 6, 1988. The recipient is determined by a vote of the players and past winners have included former NFL players Tom Zbikowski, Jeff Faine, Harrison Smith, Aaron Taylor and Chris Zorich.
As a junior, Watt started all 13 games as Notre Dame went 12-1 and played Alabama in the National Championship game. One of his teammates on that squad was Chargers linebacker Manti Te’o. Watt also played alongside offensive lineman Trevor Robinson at Notre Dame.
Watt hails from a family with a significant lineage in college football. His older brother, Kevin, played defensive end at Northwestern from 2007-11. His father, Rich, played at Division II Hillsdale College in Michigan. His uncle, Bobby Watt, played at Brown University, while his grandfather, William Watt, and his great uncle, Dan Hurley, both played at Harvard.
One of Watt’s hobbies is collecting baseball cards. His most prized card is autographed by Nolan Ryan.
TRANSACTION HISTORY: Third-round pick (89) by Chargers, May 9, 2014...signed four-year contract, May 14.
2014: Did not play Games 1-3...NFL debut seeing platoon action at right guard and on special teams Sept. 28 vs. Jacksonville...saw action at right guard Oct. 5 vs. New York Jets and moved to center early in fourth quarter when Doug Legursky left game with knee injury...continued to platoon at right guard Oct. 12 at Oakland...helped Bolts rush for 116 yards and pass for 313 while line allowed just one sack in 35 passing plays in 31-28 win over Raiders...saw brief action at center for injured Rich Ohrnberger Nov. 16 vs. Oakland...first career start at center for injured Ohrnberger and helped block for 128 rush yards in 27-24 win over St. Louis Nov. 23...started at center Nov. 30 at Baltimore but injured calf in third quarter and did not return...returned to starting lineup Dec. 7 vs. New England...injured ankle early Dec. 20 at San Francisco and did not return...inactive Dec. 28 at Kansas City.
COLLEGE: First-team All-Independent FBS as junior and senior...team’s Pietrosante Award after senior season in 2013...started 37 career games at left guard, while playing in total of 50...started 34 straight games before missing Navy game in 2013 due to injury...redshirted in 2009... played at Notre Dame from 2010-13... marketing degree.
PERSONAL: Born in Arlington Heights, Illinois...USA Today and Parade Magazine All-America as senior at Glenbard West High School in Glen Ellyn, Ill....invited to play in 2009 U.S. Army All-American Game in San Antonio...consensus first-team all-state as senior...2008-09 Illinois Gatorade Player of Year and 2008 West Suburban Silver Conference MVP...played three different positions along offensive line without yielding sack during career.