Windsor grad drafted by Argos

Watt takes unusual route to the pros

NORTH Vancouver’s Spencer Watt was drafted by the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts last week, going in the third round of the Canadian draft, 18th overall.

You might think the former Windsor secondary and Simon Fraser University wide receiver would be a little bummed out about being picked by a team that finished 3-15 last season, but that is far from the case.

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“I’m excited, really excited,” Watt told the North Shore News last week as he prepared for an Argonaut minicamp coming up in Florida that will precede the opening of the team’s rookie training camp in Toronto June 2.

Part of the reason that he’s happy to be an Argo is that Watt has been in similar situations before — when he joined SFU in 2007 they were in the midst of a 25-game losing streak that spanned four season. In his first year the Clan went 0-8. The next season the Clan broke the streak in their first game and went on to post a 5-3 record and make a surprise run to the Canada West Conference championship final.

“It’s way better to be part of something like that,” said Watt. “When we won that first game I don’t think I’ll ever have a feeling like that ever again.”

Toronto could offer similar opportunities.

“At SFU we had three years of losing seasons, so I’m not too worried. I’m excited to be part of a losing team so I can contribute, help out and hopefully turn around their record this year,” he said.

Watt finished the 2009 season with 231 receiving yards and two touchdowns, including a 91-yard reception in SFU’s win over UBC in the Shrum bowl. In 2008 Watt racked up 301 yards on 16 catches, scoring one touchdown. They’re not eye-popping stats, something SFU head coach Dave Johnson attributes to his team’s system, not the player.

“Spencer is athletic as they come, and quite honestly he was probably a little underused in our system,” said Johnson in an SFU press release. “But he is a great character guy, an outstanding athlete and a legitimate career type of player.”

With those modest numbers Watt said he was overlooked by some CFL teams, but the Argonauts liked what they saw from him at Canadian Football Scouting’s National Invitational Combine held in March. With CFL coaches and scouts looking on, Watt laid down the fastest 40-yard dash time (4.41 seconds) and longest broad jump (10 feet four inches) of any player at the combine while also scoring the second best vertical leap (39.5 inches) amongst the receivers.

“If I didn’t go to that I’m pretty sure I would have been drafted late round or not even drafted at all,” said Watt.

While going from being an underused receiver in a struggling university program to a professional player in Canada’s biggest market may seem like a tall order, Watt has already made similar leaps in his career. He didn’t play football at all until his Grade 12 year at Windsor.

“I played basketball and all the other sports, hockey and whatnot, and then it was just in Grade 12 that I started playing football,” he said. “One of my teammates told me to come out because they needed a receiver. He just said I was athletic so I could probably play or get some playing time and it started from there.”

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