Normand, Watson earn CoSIDA Academic All-District honors

Normand, Watson earn CoSIDA Academic All-District honors

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Tech sophomore tackle James Normand and senior defensive back Corey Watson have been selected for the CoSIDA Academic All-District team for their success on the field and in the classroom.

Watson is a standout on the Golden Eagle defense who ranks among the best in the Ohio Valley Conference in defending the pass, while Normand has been a full-time starter in Tech's offensive line.

Normand, an offensive tackle from Oak Ridge, Tenn., owns a 3.90 GPA in accounting. After beginning his career last season in a backup role, he was elevated to a starting role for the final two games of his rookie year. This season, the 6-2, 285-pound sophomore has started all eight games for a Golden Eagle offense which ranks among league leaders in several categories.

A strong player with outstanding knowledge of his position, he is recognized for outstanding technique and great work ethic, both on the field and in the classroom. Named to the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll both semesters in his freshman season, he also landed on the OVC Commissioner’s Adademic Honor Roll.

Named All-State during his prep career at Oak Ridge High School, Normand also earned a spot on the National Guard Academic All-State team. The first lineman to letter all four years at his high school, he was named the District 3A Lineman of the Year and was picked for both the Tennessee-Kentucky Border Bowl and the Tennessee East-West All-Star Game.

James is the son of James and Mary Normand of Oak Ridge.

Watson, a senior from Sevierville, Tenn., has built a 3.65 GPA in exercise science and physical wellness (EXPW). He currently ranks first in the OVC and 19th in the nation in interceptions,
and fourth in the OVC in passes defended. A two-way player during is high school career, Watson has moved across the line of scrimmage during his Tech career, settling into a starting role in the defensive secondary in his final campaign.

In addition to his prowess in pass defense, Watson ranks fifth on the team in total tackles with 50. He made a career-high eight stops at Jacksonville State two weeks ago, then raised that with a career-high 11 tackles last week against Murray State.

Not only does he own a tremendous work ethic, he shows an effective combination of speed and strength, and helps to provide an experienced foundation to the secondary. A real student of the game, he shows a strong knowledge of his position as well as his talents in the classroom, which have placed him on the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll each of the past six semesters.

Watson was a standout two-way player at Sevier County High School, seeing time at quarterback and defensive back, and also lined up at wide receiver and kick returner on his way to earning Region 1-5A Offensive Player of the Year in his final two seasons. He was a two-time first-team all-region pick as a defensive back, and selected to play in the Tennessee-Kentucky All-Star game.

Corey is the son of Don and Ronda Watson of Sevierville.

Watson and Normand raise the total to 109 the number of Golden Eagles named to CoSIDA Academic All-District teams since 1985, including 27 from the football team. Previous TTU football players named Academic All-DIstrict include Barry Wilmore (1985), Andy Rittenhouse (1985, 86, 87), Joel Chandler (1986), Clark Richey (1987), Spencer Hissam (1990), Ted Lockerby (1991, 92), Scott Trent (1995), Jeff Norman (1997), Wes Gallagher (1997, 98, 99), Trey Perry (2002), Brett Vavra (2004), Jon Mahan (2005, 06), Taylor Askew (2007, 08, 09), and Bradley Thompson (2007, 08).

The CoSIDA Academic All-America and Academic All-District is organized and voted on by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

Normand and Watson are among seven players from the Ohio Valley Conference to earn Academic All-District honors. Austin Peay placed three players on the list while Southeast Missouri and Eastern Kentucky each had one player chosen.

All of the first-team players will now have their names placed into consideration for Academic All-America honors.

Normand, Watson and the Golden Eagles face a critical showdown at Eastern Kentucky Saturday at 12 noon CT in Roy Kidd Stadium in Richmond, Ky. With wins in their final two games, the Golden Eagles (5-3/4-2 OVC) would clinch at least a share of the OVC title and would capture the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Football Championship Division (FCS) playoffs.