Former Oklahoma congressman and football star J.C. Watts will endorse Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign this week, Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond confirmed Monday.

Watts becomes the latest former colleague from Gingrich's tenure as House speaker to sign on with the Republican frontrunner. Watts was first elected to the House in 1994, the year Gingrich led Republicans to take over the House for the first time in 40 years.

Watts, the first African American elected statewide in Oklahoma, served four terms in the House. A former star football player for the Oklahoma Sooners, he went on to form a lobbying and consulting business.