TWIN FALLS — At 14, Braxton Watkins has already played with the best football players his age.
Last weekend, Watkins traveled to Fort Worth, Texas, to compete in the Reggie Swinton National All-Stars games. Watkins played with and against athletes from across the U.S.
To qualify, Watkins had to submit video footage of himself playing. Former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Reggie Swinton selected the qualifying athletes based on their video footage.
“These are the top kids from across the U.S.,” said Dawn Coker, Watkins mother.
From July 1-4, Watkins and almost 100 other players vied for the title of All-Star champions. Teams were divided by age into groups of 14. Despite the small team size, athletes still played four full 10-minute quarters.
“We were playing both sides of the ball,” Watkins said.
By the end of the tournament, Watkins’ team finished on top. They won the title game and were named the first ever Reggie Swinton National All-Star champions.
Throughout the weekend Watkins was able to meet NFL players, compete with some of the best athletes his age and claim the title of champion.
But the best part, for him, was being able to represent the state of Idaho.
“It was great,” he said. “In my last three All-American games I’ve played, I’m the only one from Idaho.”
“Just because someone is from a small town, it doesn’t mean they can’t go far,” Coker said. “Big talent comes from small towns.”
Watkins is preparing for his freshman year at Twin Falls High School. He plans to join the football team there, where he will continue to play in the slot position.
With all that he’s already accomplished, Coker is excited to see what the future holds for her son’s football career.
“If he stays focused and on the grind, I think he’ll go far,” she said.