Watkins out to shine in crowded Tigers backfield

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MEMPHIS — It is one of the biggest questions heading into the 2019 season for the Memphis Tigers?  How good will the running game be now that both Darrell Henderson and Tony Pollard are playing in the NFL?

The good news for Mike Norvell, he still has Patrick Taylor, who ran for over 11-hundred yards and 16 touchdowns last year.  Redshirt freshman Kenny Gainwell will get the first crack to be the back-up, with one guy to keep an eye on, former Whitehaven standout Kylan Watkins.

After sitting out last year as a transfer from U.T. Martin, Watkins has impressed, starting with spring practice and then in these first few days of fall camp where he has the skill set to play running back, receiver and special teams.  One guy who knows first hand what Watkins can do is his position coach Anthony Jones, who had to try and slow him down in high school.  “You don’t have to bring up the bad memories from high school. I remember Kylan Watkins all too well and all 200 yards he ran against us at Cordova. When I saw him in high school and coached against him, I was in shock and now I see on a daily basis, I see why he was able to have the high school career he was able to have. He has earned everything he has gotten so far. It wouldn’t shock me if he had an unbelievable season because he’s an unbelievable young man,” Jones said.

Watkins has also impressed Tigers head coach Mike Norvell.  “Kylan is a young back that has some really good talent. He’s worked really hard trying to establish what his role is going to be. Each day he just gets a little better. I like what he does. I like his mindset and his approach so we’ll see what position he puts himself,” said Norvell.

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