Dekoda Watson was born on March 3, 1988 in Aiken, South Carolina. He graduated from South Aiken High School in 2006 where he earned All-State honors as a senior and was named Defensive MVP in the 2005 North Carolina-South Carolina Shrine Bowl. After high school, Dekoda went to Florida State University to play for the Seminoles, and he earned a Bachelor of Science in Family and Child Sciences. He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League in 2010 and signed a four year contract. He later went on to play for the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Dallas Cowboys, the New England Patriots, the Denver Broncos, and is currently playing for the San Francisco 49ers.
In his spare time, Dekoda enjoys spending quality time with his parents- Gregory & Angela Watson, his wife Cristina and son Chase, his sisters Amber & Tamber, and his nephew Skylar. He also takes a special interest in hunting and fishing. Dekoda has strong ties to his hometown. He views football not as his true calling but as a stepping-stone that allows him to give back to others and make a difference in the lives of a younger generation. As a successful athlete, he strives to give back to the community that has supported him throughout his career.
Dekoda created Koda’s Kids Foundation to provide opportunities for success for underprivileged youth. The organization encourages youth to set goals and reach them while putting an emphasis on health and education. The organization stresses the importance of character, positive life skills, discipline, and self-respect. A phrase that Dekoda lives by is, “Sacrifice today for what you want tomorrow.”
A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE THAT INSPIRED ME TO GET INVOLVED IN MY CAUSE WAS:
I have always been a firm believer in raising children the right way. Young people need to be taught to respect themselves, to respect others, and to dream big. Unfortunately, I know several people that fell into bad habits because no one showed them the right way to go. It’s hard for me to watch bright, talented kids with huge potential make senseless mistakes. Koda’s Kids Foundation places emphasis on health, wellness, education, and the development of good character. All of these things are important to me, so it just seemed natural to start a foundation that incorporated these teachings and could help our younger generation build a better life.
IN FIVE WORDS, I WOULD DESCRIBE MYSELF AS:
Patient, Determined, Humble, Loving, Optimistic
GROWING UP, MY SPORTS HERO WAS:
I love how awesome he was at Virginia Tech. I even love how well he played against my favorite team, Florida State (Go Noles)! He did a great job with Atlanta’s program and even ended up becoming one of the highest paid quarterbacks in the league. Now that’s inspiration!
OFF THE FIELD, I IDOLIZED:
My dad, Mr. Greg Watson.
My dad represents what I feel a real man should be. He’s an awesome husband and father. I can’t count the endless sacrifices he made for our family. If I’m not mistaken, he attended all of my games at Florida State and almost all of my games when I signed with Tampa Bay too. To top it off, he was still sure to support my younger sisters as well. He makes me proud. I look forward to being there for my son the way my dad has always been there for me.
IF YOU ATTEND ONE EVENT EACH YEAR HOSTED BY MY FOUNDATION OR THE CHARITY I SUPPORT, IT SHOULD BE:
Annual Football and Cheerleading Camps
I have a blast every time I’m on the field with those kids! They do too. It’s awesome seeing the big smiles on their faces. Some of the children really look up to professional athletes and would probably never get the opportunity to meet them otherwise. I see how it inspires them to do greater things in life. We don’t charge anyone to attend the camps, so children who normally can’t afford things like this get a chance to join in the fun like everyone else. It’s a great experience, and I look forward to making it a better event every year.
WHEN MY ATHLETIC CAREER IS OVER, I WOULD LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED AS:
Just me. Dekoda. I want people to remember me as a person who loves his family, the younger generation, and his community.