On the surface, it appeared that Toms River North (NJ) three-star Bryce Watts was set. He committed to Rutgers last March and seemed solid with that choice.
Watts has many family members who attended Rutgers and he’d developed a bond with the football program that dated back to when Greg Schiano was coach. But Watts kept going back to a trip he made this past summer.
He attended one of Virginia Tech’s recruiting camps, arguably out of curiosity. And even before Watts committed to the Hokies Jan. 21, he said he knew where he would play his college ball.
“Right when I came there, I felt comfortable,” Watts said. “And then the coaches, they’re all like-minded guys. They all think like me and suit my personality. I just like the area. Something about being in Virginia, playing in the ACC and when I was young, my dad and I used to always watch Virginia Tech games on TV. My favorite player of all time is Michael Vick. I used to be a quarterback until my freshman year and tried to imitate him.”
Watts said it wasn’t something that the Scarlet Knights did. But one departure further cemented the decision he’d made to flip to the Hokies.
“When I went to Virginia Tech, it was just so nice and there’s just something about Blacksburg and the Hokies,” Watts said. “I was all about it and it changed everything, how I felt about Rutgers and just a whole bunch of stuff, just my whole thought on recruiting. I went back to Rutgers and they convinced me, but I always had that feeling, that I love VT. Then, Coach (Aaron) Henry left out of nowhere. I was gonna switch, but when he left, that gave me a reason to go on.”
The decision to flip to Virginia Tech was made on Watts’ official visit. He announced his intention that Saturday night, well before his visit was even over.
“There’s just something about Blacksburg and I knew that was the spot I wanted to be at,” Watts said. “I thought I was gonna wait, but I thought to myself, ‘what’s the point of waiting if I know where I’m gonna go?’ I’m not gonna let these schools come in and get in my thoughts. I knew I wanted to be a Hokie.”
Assistant coach Brian Mitchell became a strong point of contact for Watts with Virginia Tech. And while he and the rest of the staff didn’t promise Watts anything, they did show their belief that he could make an impact.
“I know when I get there, I’m gonna have to compete and I grew up competing,” Watts said. “That’s one thing about me, I like to compete. They can be a four or five-star in front of me, I’m gonna push and not give up. They just said, as long as you compete, you’ll be good. Coach Mitchell came on Thursday and I was really excited about that, too.”
Watts intends to sign his letter of intent Wednesday with the Hokies. But that’s only the beginning. From now until he arrives at Virginia Tech in July, Watts said he still has work to do on his own, to get himself prepared for the grind ahead.
“I wanna get in the weight room and get bigger,” he said. “That’s what I’m gonna do all spring. I’m not gonna go crazy with the weights, because I’m running track. But I wanna get faster and bigger. Those are the main two things. Me getting faster will come with weights. I know they’ll have a plan for me.”