Former Yellow Jacket Hazel, ex-Golden Hawk Watts drafted

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Former North Augusta and Coastal Carolina receiver Matt Hazel and former Washington County and Georgia Tech linebacker Brandon Watts were taken in the NFL Draft on Saturday.

Hazel was selected by the Miami Dolphins in the sixth round with the 190th overall pick, while the Minnesota Vikings chose Watts in the seventh round with the 223rd overall pick.

“A lot of teams told me I’m versatile, I can play inside and outside,” the 6-foot-1, 198-pound Hazel said. “I feel like I can move the chains on first down. I’m an all-around receiver.”

Hazel, who ran a 4.49 40-time at the NFL combine, played in the East-West Shrine game and caught a touchdown pass from Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who was drafted in the second round by the New England Patriots.

Hazel was just the third player in Coastal Carolina history to participate in the game, joining Jerome Simpson (Vikings) and Josh Norman (Panthers).

“I felt like I had something to prove there,” he said.

During this senior season with the Chanticleers, Hazel broke his own single-season record with 70 catches, while his 990 receiving yards ranked second on the single-season list. He tied for the Big South Conference lead in touchdown receptions with nine.

Hazel finished his collegiate career with a school-record 183 catches and 2,553 receiving yards, which ranks second on the career list. His 28 touchdown catches also rank second all-time.

In his senior season at North Augusta, he had 75 catches for 1,193 yards and scored 18 touchdowns. He was named to the 2009 Shrine Bowl squad representing South Carolina.

Watts, who ran a 4.4 second 40-yard dash at Georgia Tech’s pro day, was second on the team in tackles with 66 during his senior season. He finished his career with 179 tackles and 16 tackles for loss.

He was third Yellow Jacket drafted, joining Jeremiah Attaochu (second round, San Diego) and defensive back Jemea Thomas (sixth, New England).


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