Recruiting the talent-rich state of Texas, Wisconsin wide receiver coach Ted Gilmore evidently liked the film of Austin Westlake junior tailback Nakia Watson enough to where he felt the 6-foot, 210-pound tailback was worthy of a Badgers offer.
Gilmore just had to put him to the test first to see if there was genuine interest.
Getting an introductory text from Gilmore Friday, Watson admitted he didn’t know much about the University of Wisconsin. And while Gilmore told him a few things, he told Watson to do his homework and call him back two days later.
That research led to Watson’s first Power-Five conference offer after passing the test.
“I called him back and told him what I knew – the Watt brothers came out of there, Russell Wilson, they are one of the top schools in the country, won the Big Ten and went to the Rose Bowl a couple years ago, all that stuff,” Watson told BadgerNation. “He said, ‘All right, I want to get you up here on campus, and I’m telling you that because you have an offer from the University of Wisconsin.’ I appreciated that because that’s really a big deal school.”
The Badgers have done well for themselves recruiting Texas the last three years with five verbal commits from the state, including Gilmore getting commitments from two receivers – Cade Green and Emmet Perry – a year ago. Both of those prospects were under-the-radar when Gilmore found them, and the same can be said for Watson.
Despite running for 1,645 yards and 22 touchdowns last season, Watson’s only other major offer is SMU.
“I don’t know what schools are missing,” Watson said. “Wisconsin is a big school. I’m fine with that. I could go to Wisconsin.”
More than the Badgers being his first big offer, Watson believes he can go to Wisconsin because of what the Badgers want to do offensively with their tailbacks, a long-standing tradition he realized during his weekend of research.
“I didn’t know this, but Wisconsin is pretty much Running Back U,” Watson said. “When I see how many running backs came out of Wisconsin and became successful, it’s pretty dope. They’re RBU, and that pretty much stood out to me. I didn’t know how much they use their running backs. I saw Melvin Gordon play, but I thought it was pretty much him. I didn’t know there was like 10 more before him. That stands out to me.”
Planning to do a few visits, including a trip up to Oklahoma early next month, Watson wants to schedule a trip to Wisconsin – possibly for a camp - to get familiar with the coaches and the campus.
“My actual strength is I am a really hard runner,” Watson said. “I really don’t fear anybody on the field. They bleed just like I did. I have really good vision but it can always get better. For my size, my speed is really good but there’s always room for improvement. Me knowing my assignment and everybody else’s assignment doesn’t just make me better, it makes the whole team better and everything would tie in.”