Every year there are additions to Michigan’s recruiting board based standout performances turned in during the Wolverines’ annual summer camp. One of the major additions this year was Tri-State Christian Academy CB, Brandon Watson. Turns out that discovery process was a two-way street.
“Honestly, I had no clue about the Michigan or the camp until Friday coming back up from Tennessee,” said Watson. “Coach said, ‘we’re going to Michigan’, and I said ‘alright, let’s do it’.”
“We got (to Ann Arbor) kind of late. The (Michigan) coach said ‘oh, so you’re one of the kids from ECA?’ I said ‘yeah.’ I did my first drill and he said, ‘I’m going to keep watching you throughout the camp and see how you progress.’”
Watson gave the Michigan coaches an eyeful. His penchant for being physical was evident on virtually every rep. For good measure he showed the ability to turn and run with any receiver he matched up with. It soon became obvious to him that Brady Hoke & company liked what they were seeing.
“They were talking to me throughout, so I kind of knew through lunchtime that if I did what I had to do the second half of the camp that offer was going to be there,” said Watson. “Later in the day that I got the offer.”
With that news the Michigan became major presence in Watson’s recruitment. That’s due in large part to the instant connection he forged with its staff.
“I liked them,” Watson said regarding the coaches. “They were really cool and down to earth. I liked all the coaches, but the defensive coordinator and the DB coach I think I was the closest with. All the coaches were real cool out there. I had fun every second I was up there, so it was real good up there. "
“They told me everything, good and bad, that I needed to know. They criticized my game a lot, but that’s what you need in a coaching staff. You don’t need anyone to sugarcoat what’s going on with you. They were real to me. I really like Michigan. Their alumni, academics, and everything else… (those are) definitely bigger factors in deciding where I’m going to go. They’re high up there on the alumni and academics, and high up on my list.”
Exactly how high remains to be seen. For now he will only say they are one of a quartet of favorites.
“Michigan is high up there,” stated Watson. “All the schools that have offered me are high up there. No one is out of the race. Michigan, Boston College, Connecticut, Temple; they’re all there because they all showed me love.”
Watson plans to be on the receiving end of even more love in the coming weeks, as his visit schedule shifts into high gear.
“No breaks,” he said. “You have to stay on the grind 100%. We’re going to Maryland 7-on-7 on Saturday, then Monday I think me, my coach, and a couple other players are flying to Cali for the USC camp, and then flying back down on the 28th or something like that for Syracuse camp.”
Squeezing all of those visits into a small window is necessary for Watson and teammate Freddy Canteen (who also received a Michigan offer) since both plan to make decisions in the next month.
“Freddy and I both – we want to midyear, so go half the year, and then graduate and go to college in January, so it’s important to make it before the season, that way you have all your paperwork and everything done.”
“We have talked about (going to the same school) multiple times, but different schools offered and everything else, so we don’t know. We’ll have to see how it plays out.”
With his commitment timeframe fast approaching the 6-1, 190-pounder is working feverishly to assess key attributes in his still growing roster of suitors.
“I’m going to be looking at a lot of things,” explained Watson. “M head coach is a big factor. His input... he knows where I would fit in best, he knows a lot of coaches, and he’s real familiar with the coaches. (It will come down to) family, the coaches, and how much the schools shows love to me. I don’t want to go to a school that doesn’t talk to me at all, but I just got the offer. I want to go to a school where I know I’m going to in there and be loved. I don’t care about staying close to home or being far away from home, to me it’s just wherever I feel I fit in best.”
If Michigan has its way, it’ll have another opportunity to host him on a visit and demonstrate the fit he could in Ann Arbor.
“Yeah, I probably should (take another visit),” said Watson. “I have some family in Cleveland and Pittsburgh, so it’s not like I’m too far away."