Written by Ryan Wright
When college football coaches talk about recruiting a leader, a fighter, and a young man with a never give up mentality, few have the heart and determination of quarterback Braden Waterman. Before twice dealing with and beating Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the 6-4, 203-pound, quarterback was one of the rising stars in California’s 2021 recruiting class. Rising above his health issues, Waterman threw for 1,758 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2019 hitting on 124 of 177 attempts. Showing the dual-threat abilities, he added 335 on the ground with two more scores. All that talent will be under guidance of a former NFL quarterback in 2021 seeing Waterman pair with David Carr at Bakersfield Christian.
In an RNG exclusive interview partnered with QB Hit List, Waterman covers ground on his offseason workouts and preparing for his senior season as part of the 2022 class after reclassifying this month.
Braden, it was truly impressive going back and watching your 2019 game film. The offense you were executing with the Bearcats (Paso Robles) was multidimensional allowing you to showcase all the skills. How did you feel about your personal performance?
It was good. I had ups and downs, but I feel like it was mostly pretty good and I executed pretty well.
In 2019, you had it down throwing bullets deep, throwing on the run, and making teams pay with your wheels. From a physical standpoint, how have you started preparing your body for the next season?
I switched my diet around doing the Keto (Ketogenic) diet. The Keto diet is full of rich and healthy foods. I went from 160, when I was sick, to about 205 now. I will put on another 10 pounds of muscle. It is great. I am getting a lot faster and quicker. I am taking it every day and trying to get better and better.
What have you been doing to push your football IQ to a master’s level this offseason?
The mental part is huge for me right now. I am learning a lot; for example, seeing Cover 2 what to switch to and what is open. The mental part has been a big part of my offseason. I am getting that down by watching film, working on the white board, and going over everything with my coaches. I am trying to get as much info as I can.
What have you been doing to fine-tune the footwork and throwing mechanics?
One of the main things is staying balanced with a firm base. I am integrating with my hip for more accuracy and power; keeping that base and using my hip to get it to where it needs to go. Those are the two main things this offseason.
Did you get to play any club ball this winter?
Yes. I was playing in the Winner’s Circle league with Team Hustle.
How did that experience go for you?
It was good. We didn’t win any games, but it was good. It was a good teaching moment. I came in late to their team, about month after they started. They already had two quarterbacks; I worked my way up from third to first string. That was a new experience, I had never had to work for that spot before. I had to learn, sometimes you are not the guy and you have to work to be the guy.
With that experience, where were you showing improvements after all the hard work put into your progression?
Becoming a better leader was a big thing. We were down, I was using my voice to build my teammates back up. Getting on the field and making plays, being a playmaker, was another area where I was showing improvement. Being a better teammate and being a better leader, and making plays so we can be successful.
With Bakersfield Christian, what offense will you be executing during the 2021 season?
It is David and Darren Carr’s offense. David played in NFL (Texans). He’s running an Air Raid offense. We are throwing the ball up and down the field. As a QB, that is what you want to hear – Air Raid. We have intermediate to deep routes. The defense plays back, and then we throw slants and underneath routes. It is a good offense for me.
Braden, I appreciate your time today catching us up on everything. Wishing you the best this offseason as you prepare for your senior season and learn the new playbook.
Thank you, Ryan.
Photo credit: Waterman family; Braden Waterman