Rutgers fans have found a little more than jellybeans, marshmallow chicks, and chocolate bunnies in their Easter baskets, as the program picked up its second member of the 2017 recruiting class whens Toms River athlete Bryce Watts pledged to the Scarlet Knights.
Watts has been on Rutgers' radar dating back to the Flood era. According to 247Sports, he made three unofficial visits last season, taking in the Kansas, Michigan State, and Maryland games in person. While Flood's staff never offered Watts, Ash and his staff were so impressed with Watts during his visit at February's Junior Day, they offered him on the spot. Rutgers was the first program to offer him.
Later that month, Watts received an offer from Monmouth, and then one from Syracuse in early March. In fact, Watts took a visit to Cuse on Saturday before committing to Rutgers 24 hours later. Something, something, schadenfreude. In addition to the Hawks and Orange, Watts also received interest from Iowa, North Carolina, Missouri, Temple, Virginia, and a few others.
At Toms River North, Watts plays both receiver and cornerback. On offense, his long legs help him break away from defenders and accelerate down the field towards the end zone. He also has impressive and reliable hands that help him reel in some circus catches. Watts is a strong, versatile receiver who can beat double coverage both on the outside and in the slot.
As a cornerback, Watts plays a tenacious brand of defense that surely appeals to head coach Chris Ash and defensive coordinator Jay Niemann. His speed helps him keep pace with his opponents, challenging them to beat him one-on-one. His quickness also helps him chase down the ball carrier from behind if he gets past the front seven. Another skill of Watts' that should appeal to Rutgers fans is his tackling ability, which appears to be pretty strong based on his film.
At 6-0, 165, Watts needs to bulk up considerably, but has his whole senior year to do so. If he adds some pounds, his size would compare to current Rutgers receivers John Tsimis and Dontae Owens, and current Scarlet Knight DBs Ronnie James and Davon Jacobs.
Watts is the second player to commit to Rutgers in the last four days after 2016 JUCO transfer Kobe Marfo committed on Thursday. Watts is the second member of the 2017 class, and the first commit offered by Ash's staff, as fellow 2017 commit cornerback Naijee Jones pledged to the program under Flood.
Here's a look at Watts' junior year film.
Welcome to the banks, Bryce!