Mississippi has one player on the Associated Press All-American team.
Nathaniel “Bookie” Watson, a graduate linebacker at Mississippi State, was named to the AP’s third team after a stellar 2023 campaign that included leading the SEC in both tackles (137) and sacks (10). The Maplesville, Ala., native added seven quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, a pair of pass breakups, and an interception.
The All-American nod is the latest accolade to roll in for Watson as the team captain has also been named AP SEC Defensive Player of the Year and first-team All-SEC. He was also a finalist for the Butkus Award, given annually to the top linebacker in college football.
With no eligibility remaining, Watson has officially announced his intentions to go pro. In a social media post on Nov. 29, he released the following statement:
“It has truly been a long time coming but my time at Mississippi State has come to an end. 6 years ago, I came to Mississippi State as a teenager just wanting to play football, but as I leave Mississippi State, I leave as a man with two degrees and a lifetime of memories. I am so thankful for every person who has made this journey memorable. I can’t thank my family, my teammates and coaches, and all the trainers for their support and love through everything. All the memories I have made and the lives I have impacted will be something I hold with me forever. I look forward to the next stage of my life and the journey this will be. Thank you for everything, Mississippi State!”
Watson finished his career in Starkville with 358 tackles, 21 sacks, two interceptions, and three forced fumbles in 56 games with 38 starts. He is projected as a Saturday draft pick when the NFL Draft rolls around in April.