E.J. WATSON

 LA JOLLA HIGH

1992

Considered by many the greatest football player in the history of La Jolla High School, this former member of the Secret Society was a standout performer on both sides of the line of scrimmage. E.J.ís electrifying runs paced the Vikings to a 13-1 season and a CIF Finals appearance against El Camino High School in 1991. It was in the CIF Semifinals against San Pascual High School that E.J. rushed into the section record book in what is considered by many the greatest performance by a high school football player in San Diego CIF history. On a fog-covered night at Torrey Pines High School, E.J. rushed for 370 yards on 23 carries an average of 16 yards per rush. The 370-yard total was a CIF record. He scored a record tying 7 touchdowns and broke the county record for total points by adding a 2-point conversion to his total. E.J. finished the night with 44 points.

E.J.ís record setting performance saw him score on a 93-yard kickoff return and six scores on runs of 38, 2, 72, 15, 75 and 48 yards. For the night he amassed 494 all-purpose yards. Almost forgotten in the euphoria of La Jollaís 50-49 victory was the fact that E.J. was also playing on the other side of the line of scrimmage and along with being in on numerous tackles, he made an interception and had a fumble recovery. During La Jollaís playoff drive E.J. rushed for 856 yards in four games. He finished the season with 2,513 yards and 27 touchdowns. The 1991 CIF Player of the Year finished his career with 3,530 yards on 379 carries. His 9.31 yards per carry ranks 4th all time. E.J. finished with 308 total career points.

One of the things that made E.J.ís performances on offense even more spectacular was the fact that he rarely had a chance to come off the field. During the 1991 season E.J. scored 167 defensive points. He was in on 52 tackles, recorded 2 sacks and had 3 hurries. He also broke up 3 passes and intercepted 2 passes running one back for a touchdown. E.J. showed great versatility on the defensive side of the ball by playing safety, nickel back and outside linebacker.

After his record breaking senior season E.J. accepted a scholarship to play football at Colorado State University. At Colorado State E.J.ís talents were restricted to the offensive side of the ball. In 1993 he burst onto the collegiate football scene with a 210 yard rushing game against Fresno State. For the next three years E.J. would prove to be a key player in bringing Colorado Sate football into the national rankings. In 1994 E.J. paced a strong rushing offense that saw the Rams compile a 10-win season and their first ever Western Athletic Conference Championship and a berth in the Holiday Bowl. In 1995 E.J. was equally effective as he led the Rams in rushing and another WAC Championship. Colorado State also earned their second consecutive trip to the Holiday Bowl. For his career E.J. rushed for 2,245 yards a total that ranked him 9th all-time in school history.

E.J.ís athletic achievements overshadow a much more important aspect of his life. As a teenager in junior high school E.J. had to find the inner strength to abandon many of his friends who were at risk of having their lives consumed by the streets. With the guidance provided by his father, E.J. transferred to Muirlands Junior High School. Leaving the streets behind, he went on to enroll at La Jolla High School and although he had to struggle, he graduated and went on to enroll at Colorado State. Because he was a Proposition 48 student, E.J. was not allowed to play football his freshman year. Knowing that he would have to prove that he could in fact succeed in a collegiate academic environment, he applied himself and went on to post academic marks that allowed him to take the field during his second year and ultimately graduate from the university. 

E.J. currently lives in San Diego with his wife and children and  works at the University of California at San Diego. E.J.ís determination and self-discipline proved to others that it is possible to overcome the peer pressure often encountered by young people today. His academic and athletic success provides a positive example to young student-athletes who face an uphill battle in their efforts to get the job done in class and on the field. As such, the Star Chamber recognizes not only E.J.ís remarkable football accomplishments, but also his strength of character and academic achievements. It is with great pride that we honor E.J. with this place in the Star Chamber Gallery of Stars.

                     

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