At least one former North Dakota State football player has been drafted in each of the last three NFL drafts. That includes quarterback Trey Lance, the No. 3 overall pick in 2021, who was followed in the second round by tackle Dillon Radunz.
Former North Dakota State wide receiver Christian Watson followed suit on Friday as the 34th overall pick, landing in Green Bay as a Packer. Watson has a 6-foot-5 frame, sub-4.4-second 40-yard dash time, and has an ability to contribute as a runner and kick returner.
Here's the quick guide to Watson's college career with the Bison.
The vitals on Christian Watson
School: North Dakota State
Position: Wide receiver
Weight: 208 pounds
Years active: 2017-21
Watson attended North Dakota State University, where he spent five seasons. He redshirted as a freshman during the 2017 season before playing the next four seasons, helping North Dakota State win the 2018, 2019 and 2021 FCS championships. Watson developed from a player who started twice as a redshirt freshman, while playing in all 14 of the team's games, to a second-team all-conference performer as as redshirt sophomore in 2019 while starting 11 games.
Here are Christian Watson's career stats in college, including his receiving and rushing stats. You may need to scroll to the right to view the complete stats.
|Year||games||Receptions||Rec. Yards||Rec. TD||Ru. Att.||Ru. yards||Ru. TD|
Records and achievements by Christian Watson
Here are some of the notable records and statistical rankings Watson achieved in college:
- T-1st in North Dakota State history in kick return distance: 100 yards at Northern Iowa (Apr. 10, 2021)
🚨 HOUSE CALL! 🚨— NDSU Football (@NDSUfootball) April 10, 2021
Christian Watson's 100-yard kickoff return puts the Bison ahead 7-6 after a PAT by Jake Reinholz. pic.twitter.com/YKr8KlPzOe
- T-1st in North Dakota State history in kick return touchdowns in a season: Two (2020)
- T-1st in North Dakota State history in career kick return touchdowns: Two
- 3rd in North Dakota State history in kick return average in a season (min. 10 attempts): 33.80 yards (2020)
- 4th in North Dakota State history in career average yards per catch (min. 25 receptions): 20.38 yards
- 4th in North Dakota State history in career kick return average (min. 20 attempts): 26.38 yards
- 5th in North Dakota State history in terms of longest reception: 85 yards vs. Northern Iowa (Oct. 9, 2021)
- 6th in North Dakota State history in single-season receiving yards: 801 yards (2021)
- T-7th in North Dakota State history in kick return distance: 94 yards at Sam Houston (May 2, 2021)
- 8th in North Dakota State history in average yards per catch in a season (min. 10 receptions): 23.26 yards (2020)
- 8th in North Dakota State history in career receiving yards: 2,140 yards
- 9th in North Dakota State history in career kick return yards: 686 yards
- 10th in North Dakota State history in career receptions: 105 receptions
What were some of Christian Watson's best games in college?
Here are some of Watson's best performances in college:
North Dakota State 57, Western Illinois 21 | Nov. 9, 2019
Watson had four catches while setting a career high with 121 receiving yards in a 36-point win over Western Illinois in the Harvest Bowl.
North Dakota State 9, Illinois State 3 | Dec. 14, 2019
In a win over Illinois State in the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs, Watson caught seven passes, a new career high, for 107 yards.
North Dakota State 42, Montana State 14 | Dec. 21, 2019
Watson helped propel the Bison to the 2019 FCS national championship game after scoring 70-plus-yard touchdowns on back-to-back offensive plays as he caught a 75-yard touchdown pass, then rushed for a 70-yard touchdown, showing the speed that would later be on full display when he ran a 4.36-second 40-yard dash at the 2022 NFL Combine.
"The Bison erupted for 22 points in the second quarter with sophomore receiver Christian Watson leading the charge," wrote Forum News Service's Eric Peterson. "Watson started the barrage with a 75-yard touchdown catch from (Trey) Lance that gave NDSU a 14-7 lead with 12:34 to play in the quarter. On NDSU's next play from scrimmage, Watson took a handoff on a sweep play and raced 70 yards for a touchdown that gave the Bison a 22-7 lead with 10:51 to play in the first half."
North Dakota State 23, Northern Iowa 20 | Apr. 10, 2021
Watson earned Missouri Valley Football Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors after recording 229 all-purpose yards in a win over Northern Iowa, a game in which he returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown. He caught two passes for 86 yards, including a 61-yard grab that set up a field goal before halftime. A 25-yard reception was part of a scoring drive that resulted in a touchdown.
Sam Houston 24, North Dakota State 20 | May 2, 2021
In the FCS quarterfinals, Watson scored on a 94-yard kick return, his second kick return for a touchdown of the season — the only FCS player in the country to do so that season.
North Dakota State 34, Northern Iowa 20 | Oct. 9, 2021
Dang, they make it look easy.— NDSU Football (@NDSUfootball) October 9, 2021
Patterson. Watson. 85 yards. Touchdown. pic.twitter.com/KdOi0AKoTv
Watson set a new career high with 163 receiving yards on five receptions against Northern Iowa, including an 85-yard touchdown.
What awards did Christian Watson win in college?
Here are the awards and honors Watson won in college:
- 2021 First Team All-American Wide Receiver (HERO sports)
- 2021 Second Team All-American Wide Receiver (AP)
- 2021 Second Team All-American All-Purpose (Stats Perform)
- 2021 Third Team All-American Wide Receiver (Phil Steele)
- 2021 First Team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference Wide Receiver
- 2021 First Team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference All-Purpose
- 2020 First Team All-American Kick Returner (AP, Stats Perform, HERO Sports, Athlon Sports, Phil Steele)
- 2020 First Team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference Wide Receiver
- 2020 Second Team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference Return Specialist
- Missouri Valley Football Conference Offensive Player of the Week (Apr. 11, 2020)
- 2019 Second Team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference