X Marks The Spot At Paradise Valley

Xavier Watkins checks quite a few boxes at Paradise Valley High School in north Phoenix.

Whether it be torching opposing secondaries as the Trojans go-to wide receiver, donning a lab coat for his daily studies inside PV’s CREST Program (Center for Research in Engineering, Science and Technology), running track in the spring or simply being the team “funny guy” for head coach Greg Davis, Watkins lives life to the fullest.

He does it all, without over thinking the obvious.

“A lot of it is just having fun, don’t stress out,” Xavier Watkins Funny Screen GrabWatkins said to Sports360AZ.com about the daily rigors of high school life on and off the field. “I’ll get the work done in the classroom and on the football field. It’s best to just have a little fun while doing it.”

Watkins has been no fun for opposing defensive coordinators. His breakout junior season in 2016 included 53 receptions for 1017 yards and eight scores. In Zero Week he picked up where he left off, picking apart a talented Verrado secondary to the tune of 10 catches for 160 yards and two touchdowns. He patterns his style of play after former Detroit Lion star wide receiver Calvin Johnson.

His drive to improve has been evident since Watkins stepped on campus back in the fall of 2014.

“He has a desire to want to get better,” Davis said to Sports360AZ.com. “He’s definitely a smart kid so he’s a student of the game. He watches a lot of film and understands how to stem his routes. He’s going to continue to get better as long as he does those things.”

His ambitions in the classroom succeed those on the football field as he enters his fourth year in PV’s distinguished CREST Program. Xavier Watkins school 1The senior sports a 3.7 grade-point-average and scored 1170 on his SAT exam. This summer he shadowed a local dermatologist and hopes to one day become a doctor himself.

When he’s not studying or working on perfecting his craft on the field, you may find Watkins out on the PV track as one of the Trojans’ hurdles in the spring. 

The work in one sport has already paid dividends in the other.

“A lot of hurdles is hips and speed,” Watkins explained. “I was able to shave two-hundredths of a second off my 40 [yard dash] just in one season. That’s a huge jump. A lot of it is just movement, hips and staying flexible.”

Whether on the field or in the classroom, flexibility…mixed with a little humor, has never been a problem for Watkins. 

A Valley native, Eric has had a passion for the Arizona sports scene since an early age. He has covered some of the biggest events including Super Bowls, national championships and the NBA and MLB playoffs in his near 20 years in local media.