The Terps are looking to add at least one more offensive lineman to their 2016 class, and Jan. 1 offensive coordinator Walt Bell tossed out an offer to a tackle prospect he was already quite familiar with. Before joining Maryland in mid-December, the then-Arkansas State offensive coordinator had been after Tyler Watson (Milton/Alpharetta, Ga.), a 6-foot-5, 265-pounder from one of Bell’s prime recruiting areas.
“Coach Bell was my recruiter when he was at Arkansas State, and I’ve known him for a good while now,” said Watson, who committed to Wake Forest in September. “He’s a really good guy, really easy to get along with, a really good recruiter and he’s actually good friends with my coaches at Milton too. He’s someone that’s always in [Georgia] recruiting, so he knows a lot of coaches around here.
“[Bell] liked me before, and I got in contact with him [Jan. 1], and he told me now that he was at Maryland he wanted me up there. He said they need another lineman and he’d love for me to come up and check [UMD] out.
“So that was an honor to hear. I’m planning on sticking with Wake, but I’ll hear [the Terps] out and see what they have to say.”
Watson has never been to College Park, Md., nor is he overly familiar with the program. But he is aware the Terps have a new head coach in D.J. Durkin and are making some noise on the recruiting trail. Watson also noted how UMD has a strong academic program and competes in the Big Ten. So far, Watson’s only other Big Ten look is from Illinois, most of his offers coming from non-power-five programs.
“I mean, Maryland being in the Big Ten is a big thing. Big Ten football is good football, and it’s obviously great academics, which is a big thing for me,” Watson said. “I have an offer from Illinois too, and they’re in the Big Ten, but that’s a little too far away. Maryland is a little closer for me. But, I mean, I’m not really sure right now [about Maryland]. I kind of like what I have going on at Wake.”
Watson may be inclined to stick with the Deacons, but he’s not ruling out a College Park official visit. Right now, his only scheduled official is to Winston Salem, N.C., Jan. 22, meaning he has two open weekends in January.
“So [a Maryland visit] is something I’m thinking about,” Watson said. “I have two dates I could do it, so I’m thinking about it. We’ll see. The only visit I know for sure I’m taking is Wake on the 22nd.”
Although the Deacons have struggled of late and finished 3-9 this past season, Watson believes Wake’s moving in the right direction. Plus he’s had a longstanding rapport with the staff, which has been after him for more than half-a-year.
“My relationship with Wake is really good. I talk to them at least once a week, and they’ve already had two home visits with me,” Watson said. “I know they didn’t have the best season last year, but I like what they have going on and what they’re building.
“I was up there for a game and a junior day, and I just really like the environment [at Wake]. It’s not too far from home, I like how it’s small class sizes, and it’s a really good school. So it’s really the whole package -- a great school, great coaches and it’s ACC football.”