GREEN BAY – Noah Pauley’s bags had barely hit the floor as the 2022 NFL Draft was about to get underway last month.
Returning home from a recruiting trip in Texas, the North Dakota State receivers coach made it a point to be in front of his television to see where his pupil, Christian Watson, would get selected.
The 17-time national champion Bison have enjoyed unrivaled success since joining the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision in 2004, developing a pair of top five quarterbacks (Trey Lance and Carson Wentz) in the last six years alone.
Now, it was Watson’s time.
While the prototypical size, speed and explosive plays made the 6-foot-4, 208-pound receiver an enticing pick, Watson’s affable personality is what endeared him to the Bison’s locker room, fan base and even Pauley’s own daughters, Ada and Lena.
“He means so much to myself, my wife, my two little girls,” Pauley said. “They’re his biggest fans.”
Watson was an easy guy for anyone to root for in Fargo. He was an under-recruited prospect who turned into a big-play machine, averaging 20.4 yards per catch during his college career.
But to the Pauley family, Watson’s impact goes beyond what he did on the field. It’s how he treats people and leads by example. There’s no shift in his personality. Watson handles adversity and adulation with the same smile and even-keeled response.
Pauley arrived at NDSU during Watson’s redshirt sophomore year.…