Tonka & Nyckoles
Watkins Game of the Week 3 took me to Rocky Top Tennessee for the Tennessee vs South Carolina Game. My last trip to Knoxville for a football game was to see the illustrious Josh Dobbs at quarterback. Tennessee Volunteers are a religion in that area. I saw the visiting team, South Carolina, with two of our Watkins Men in Tonka Hemingway and Nyckoles Harbor. Their work was cut out for them as the Gamecocks pulled the upset last year. The energy was intense, and I was ready for a treat.
Terrell "Tonka" Hemingway from the Watkins Class of 2020 is the starting defensive tackle for the South Carolina Gamecocks. Terrifying Tonka is from that fearless class of Watkins men who stared Covid 19 in the face and said I will be there for the Watkins Weekend in Washington DC. Tonka has a docile personality but is ferocious on the field. He is one of the few players to transition to a new coach before the era of the portal and come out on the positive end of things. I am sure this is from his quiet leadership and obsessive work ethic. Checking with all of my sources, Triple T is projected as a 2nd or 3rd-round pick in the 2024 NFL draft. As he got quality playing time as a sophomore, this is his second year as a starter and the staple of the defensive line. Watching his growth on the field every year has been very satisfying. You will definitely see this young man play on Sundays. As one of our highest GPA athletes in high school, you should not be surprised that Terrell Tonka Hemingway is terrorizing the classroom, graduating in just 3.5 years with a degree in.
Nyckoles Harbor is from our most recent 2023 class of the Watkins Award. Two Trick Nyck arrived on the South Carolina campus as a world-class sprinter and #1 recruit in football. The third trait is no trick, as he graduated with a 4.3 GPA. The biggest question about this young man on the football field is what position he will be asked to play at the University of South Carolina. Physically, he can perform at every position but quarterback! While attending his high school game, I viewed him playing 7 different positions. Standing 6'5" tall and weighing in at 245 while running a 10.1-second 100-meter dash, what position can't he play. I have never seen anything like this in all my years. Nyck is currently being showcased at the wide receiver position for the Gamecocks, but this could change at the drop of a hat based on the team's needs. I am excited to see him grow in both sports while he positions himself as the following legend on campus. It was fantastic to see him after the game, anxious to contribute and with that million-dollar smile. With a touchdown under his belt, the sky is the limit.
I watched the game with the Harbor family, and after the game, I caught up with the Hemingway's. How amazing to see both families! Nyck's mom braved a hip replacement to see her baby play, and the Hemingway family drove 8 hours each way without an overnight stay. Both families send their hello's and regards to the Watkins Family.
Jordan vs. diesel
In this past couple of weeks, the duties of my obligations consumed me outside of attending the games of my magnificent Watkins men playing on Saturday and Sunday. I didn’t allow it to stop me from attending the games; however, I am now 2 Watkins updates behind, so please enjoy updates on my last three traveling experiences over the next 6 days. I will get you all caught up… Promise! Watkins Game of the Week 2 took me to Lansing, Michigan, for the Michigan State vs Washington to see Jordan Hall and Diesel Gordon. These young men are from our most recent 2023 Class of Watkins Alumni.
Diesel Gordon, as aforementioned, is from our most recent Watkins Class of 2023. As you can imagine, I will have lots of fun updating you on this young man with the government name of DIESEL!! There is no need to anoint him with an Everette-given nickname. Diesel left high school early to attend Washington to get a head start on classes and work his way up the depth chart on the football field. Leaving high school as one of the top defensive backs in the country contributed to his smooth transition. His physical appearance already showed evidence in just a few short months on campus. I didn’t see Diesel or his family as he decided to redshirt and didn’t travel to the game. I did, however, speak
with the Gordon family, and things in the classroom and on the field are excellent, and he will be a staple in the area in a short time.
Jordan (Old Man) Hall, also from the Class of 2023, is a linebacker at Michigan State. Like Diesel, Jordan left early for college and mastered the playbook. Jordan is one of the most mature young men I have ever encountered. When you are in his presence, you can feel his intuitive spirit. Not only does he have the physical stature of an NFL player at the ripe age of 18, but Old Man Jordan also seems to have the demeanor of one as well. While Jordan was at IMG, he established himself immediately as a leader among the nation’s best players and started as a linebacker in his sophomore year. After just a few months on campus, the buzz was his ability to immediately get playing time and assume the starting position as a freshman. This has been a buzz with past Watkins players, but after attending this game, it’s real. Jordan played special teams to perfection and shared quality time at linebacker. He is already comfortable playing the middle linebacker as a freshman, and calling plays is natural. Old Man Jordan made several tackles and currently pushing the starting upperclassman for the number one position. While in the game, the energy level increased, and things just worked better. Michigan State is in a very tumultuous place now with the head coach getting fired, and he is just what the doctor ordered. I guarantee Jordan will be a Michigan State Spartan family household name very soon. Just as Jordan is transitioning on the field, he is also attacking the classroom similarly with an early 3.5 GPA in criminal justice.
I attended the game with his mother, Cyreeta, and grandmother, MOM 2. You can’t go wrong with the level of love and support from these two. Cyreeta and Mom2 send their regards to the Watkins Family. I also attended the game with the GREAT Leland Stein, who says Hello to everyone from his great state of Michigan. Talk to you soon with the following significant update!
Hello, Watkins Family and supporters, it's that time of the year again. Football season has started, and it's time to spend time with some of our great Watkins Award men playing college football at the highest level. I realize we need to expand this to Baseball with Elijah Green and the NFL with all our players in the league. Be assured it will be coming very soon. Week 1 has a singular focus on the one special Aeneas DiCosmo at Vanderbilt. It seems like college football is starting earlier and earlier, but I spent Labor Day weekend with this remarkable young man and his mother, Maia!
Aeneas DiCosmo (a.k.a AD/Coz) is from the heralded class of 2019 and is now the starting outside linebacker for Vanderbilt. The Watkins Class of 2019 already has 3 of his classmates performing in the NFL, and he may be joining them soon. AD spent his four years at Stanford under the tutelage of David Shaw. While there, he battled and worked hard to find his way into a defense that didn't fit his skill set. In his last season at Stanford, a change in scheme showed a resurgence in his ability to perform at the college level, and he emerged as a starting defensive end. His tree trunk thighs, passion, hustle, and instinct for the ball made it difficult for Stanford to keep off the field. After graduating from Stanford in 3.5 years, he took his talents to Vanderbilt. Yes, I said, "Graduating from Stanford in 3.5 Years", as that is what Watkins Men Do!! Looking for a fresh start and a new opportunity, he decided to add a postgraduate degree from Vanderbilt. He is playing football at the highest level and conquering two of the most challenging college academic curriculums. Outside of those tree trunks he refers to as legs, you wouldn't recognize him as the same player. Vanderbilt has him playing what they call the "Star" position on defense. Vanderbilt football enthusiasts say it is one of the most demanding and vital positions on defense. He can be found on the line in a 3-point stance on any given play and another split out as an edge rusher. AD will drop back into coverage in the next space and defend a receiver or tight end. Watching Aeneas on the field, I noticed skills never displayed in years past. More importantly, Coz is out there having fun and smiling, which has been absent these past few years because he is a new man on a new team doing new things! Watch him emerge as a New and great player. As I mentioned at the beginning of this write-up, my man Aeneas graduated with his degree from Stanford in International Film Studies and Production. He will graduate from Vanderbilt with an MBA. What an incredible representation of what a Watkins Man will always do: stay focused on education!
I attended the game with his lovely mother, Maia, who blessed us this past year with a message at the Watkins Award Banquet. Spending time with this remarkable woman and his college friend Keesha is always a pleasure. We had some soul food, breakfast, libations, and a great Labor Day football weekend. Maia sends her hello and regards to the entire Watkins Family. Talk to you next weekend from Detroit!
Tonka hemingway and braden davis
Watkins Game of the Week 3 and Game 4 summoned me to Columbia, South Carolina, to see Tonka Hemingway perform on the field for the first time since high school. Braden Davis has since joined Tonka as a freshman quarterback from our most recent class. Circumstances his first year and covid his second year have me now attending my first game to Gamecock Nation! Lena (mom), Kenneth (dad), and sister welcomed me with open arms. This is of the few major college football stadiums I have yet to visit in my venture to see Watkins men perform.
Tonka “Hemi” Hemingway (Watkins Class of 2020) is now the starting defensive tackle for the University of South Carolina Gamecocks. The journey to the starting position has not come easy. Hemi redshirted his first year, and after that season, his recruiting head coach was released. We know how much of a challenge that can be. While the Covid season gave everyone fits, he continued to be worked in on defensive line packages. This year he is coming into his own on the line. His weight has been adjusted up and down by the football staff. However, he is now a lean 285 and dominating. True to the name, he overpowers his opposition like a real Tonka Truck with a Hemi Engine. He still has two years of eligibility, but we will see how things continue to progress. In recent weeks, he has been used as a tight end, scoring touchdowns and returning an extra blocked point for a touchdown. This speaks to how his footwork and agility continue to improve at an elite level. Currently, he is ranked #2 in the SEC in the pash rushing winning percentage. For this particular game, he was selected as the team captain, showing his leadership position on his team. As Hemi continues to improve on the gridiron, he is dedicated to the classroom. He received the highest GPA on the defensive Award this season, maintaining a 3.4 GPA in Public Health Major. Braden “BD” Davis (Watkins Class of 2022) arrived as a freshman on campus this past spring. BD joined South Carolina as the top QB in the nation last year in high school. He is absorbing the offense like a sponge while learning behind one of the top projected quarterbacks in this upcoming NFL draft. He will be the future quarterback of the Gamecocks. The University of South Carolina football team is on the rise!
This reunion was special as I had not seen the Hemingway family since the day before Covid 19 changed the world. Mr. Hemingway got tickets for me and our Chairperson, Vareva Harris. Before the game, Vareva treated me to some great BBQ, and Kenneth was a sight for sore eyes when we got to the game. Tonka had a good match while the Gamecocks dominated Charlotte. The Hemingway family sends their regards!