California may have lost by 34 points, but somehow, tailback commit Tre Watson's commitment is stronger than ever.
"I want to go to a school where I can come in and make a big impact, help the team turn the season around," Watson said. "I feel that if I come in, they're a young team now, so next year, they'll be ready.
"I talked to coach [Pierre] Ingram. The other coaches were pretty down, but I talked to coach Ingram and coach [Tony] Franklin, and got to talk to them about it, and they said that they needed somebody to come in, ready to make plays. That's what I do best."
The Bears rushed for 190 yards on 43 carries on Saturday, showing Watson that, yes, the Bear Raid can indeed run the ball.
"They're getting it going," Watson said. "The opportunities are there. They want me to come in and make some big plays with the opportunities that they give me."
True freshman Khalfani Muhammad rushed 10 times for 61 yards – by far, his best yards-per-carry of the season.
"They definitely use their freshmen pretty well," Watson said. "They have a couple of them who are starting right now, so I feel like the opportunity's there; I just have to take advantage of it."
During the weekend, Watson sampled a bit of the Berkeley night life – though he laughingly (and adroitly) stopped short of incriminating himself – and spent time with most of the redshirting and injured players.
"I hung out with [Jack] Austin, Darius [Allensworth] and Trey Cheek all weekend, so I got a little feel for Cal life," Watson said. "We got to see a little something-something. We got to look around and see Cal."
Cheek wasn't the only Corona (Calif.) Centennial Husky in attendance, either. He brought along former teammate and 2013 Bears commit Garrett Hughes, who is well on track to enrolling in December.
"A couple weeks ago, Garret Hughes told me he was going down for the ‘SC game, so I said, ‘Alright, good,' and he said, ‘You want to try and come with me?' and I said, ‘Yeah, obviously!' That's when it happened," Watson said about setting up the visit. "I knew all along that I was coming, but I wasn't 100-percent sure when we were going to head out there, but I had a great time.
"He's coming in, in December. He fixed his grades and stuff, so he's ready."
Having Hughes in the mix helps the firmness of Watson's commitment.
"Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, it definitely does," Watson said. "We're like brothers, so that definitely helps a lot."
That doesn't mean he won't look around a bit.
"Definitely UCLA," Watson says about what other schools he's set to visit. "Then, my official to Cal."
Ever since Watson committed, it's always been between the Bears and the Bruins, and the two UC schools will joust for Watson's signature down to the eve of National Signing Day.
Watson is making his official visit to Berkeley on Jan. 17, and to Westwood on Jan. 31.
Watson has been to UCLA three times, and has been to Cal twice.
"Honestly, wherever I can take over is where I feel most comfortable at," Watson said. "Me and coach [Steve] Broussard have a great relationship, so I love that. I feel like anywhere I go, I want to have competition, and that's what I'm going to have to do: Work hard and take over."
The records of the two programs do play into things a bit for Watson, but they're not the be-all, end-all.
"I look at both now and the future," Watson said. "They have their pros and cons. It's honestly going to be the officials that determine it. I'm going to take them back-to-back so I can see the best of both schools and see what's going on."
Before he takes his visits, though, Watson and Centennial will square off on Friday with Etiwanda at Centennial for a first-round playoff match-up, after finishing an 8-2 regular season.
"We had a couple tragedy losses, but we turned it around," Watson said. "We're hungry for it."
Watson – who's already had some sparkling performances this season -- won't accept anything less than his best this Friday.
"That's all you're going to get," Watson said.
VISIT REPORT: Watson Opens Up
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