Watkins Game of the Week 2022 has been well anticipated for months. Since attending the draft to watch 4 Watkins men make the jump to the NFL, I looked forward to seeing how this year’s college participants would perform. Its anticipation led me to schedule two games at the season’s inception. The first game at Pittsburgh and the second in Durham. I will split the games into two write-ups. The first was Pitt with Notre Dame transfer and starting linebacker Shayne Simon vs. one of their top rivals West Virginia in the “Backyard Brawl.”
Shayne Simon (Watkins Class of 2018), the starting middle linebacker, has finally taken his place as a starter in major college football. Shayne (aka The Terminator) was the top linebacker in the nation, leaving St Peters Prep and heading for the golden dome. Notre Dame didn’t give him much opportunity to terminate in his four seasons there. The Terminator was asked to change positions and how he played the game. This four-year experiment ended with a season-ending shoulder surgery last year. Shayne fought hard every day since stepping on Notre Dame’s campus to do exactly what the coaches requested of him. After four years, Shayne became a graduate transfer to the University of Pittsburgh. Pitt recruited him to be used in his rightful place on defense at middle linebacker. They refer to it as the Money linebacker, and money he is. Seeing him out there on the field was as natural as anything I have ever seen on the gridiron. Watching him scramble to the ball and cover in the secondary was a sight for sore eyes. The Terminator was back in business tackling, blitzing the quarterback and breaking up passes. He will only keep getting better as the season progresses. The absolute greatest outcome of the Notre Dame experience is a bachelor’s degree in finance. Through all of the adversity and disappointment he still kept his most important focus on education. That’s what Watkins men do, and he is currently enrolled in the MBA program at the University of Pittsburgh.
This was one of the most exciting games I have ever attended. It was a game for the ages as both teams battled until the very end. The lead changed with every score and clinched in an interception by Pitt for a go-ahead score. Of course, West Virginia drove it down the field and threatened, but ran out of time. It was great to see Shayne’s mom and dad who send their regards to the Watkins Family. One of the most rewarding things to see was Shayne’s smile after leaving it all on the field for an opening season victory. Talk to you soon to update you on tomorrow’s game in Durham!!