Watson: 'Illini Till I Die'

Something about being at Illinois made Tre Watson comfortable -- a feeling so strong he decided to end his recruitment.

Something about being at Illinois made Tre Watson comfortable.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Tampa, Fla. native couldn't fully describe it, but the feeling he got being around the Illini football program was undeniable.

He committed to Coach Tim Beckman on Sunday, the 15th pledge in the 2014 class and third at the linebacker position. "The main thing was just how I felt at home from the moment I got there and from the coaches to the players, I really just liked the family atmosphere and felt like I should be a part of it," he said.

Watson made the trip from his home in the Sunshine State for an official visit this weekend. By the end of his time spent on campus, Watson, who also held offers from Central Florida, South Florida, Virginia and others, was ready to end his recruitment. He met with Beckman to make it official.

"We sat down and talked about everything with the coaching staff, and I just told them I wanted to be an Illini," Watson said.

Beckman played a major role in making Watson feel comfortable about moving north to play college football.

"I really like Coach Beckman's mindset and approach," Watson said. "I feel like the mentality that he has along with the team is what is going to make the team great moving forward."

Defensive coordinator Tim Banks did his part, too. While Watson is listed as an outside linebacker by most recruiting outlets, inside is where he intends to play at the next level. Banks and Illinois slotted Watson more as a middle linebacker, adding to Watson's list of reasons to like the Illini.

"I feel like they know what they are going to do and are just finding the right pieces for the right spots," Watson said. "They told me that I'll be playing inside where I have plenty of experience. I look forward to coming in and working my way on to the field."

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