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Pitt FB Recruiting

2024 3-Star WR Jeremiah Watkins Looking Forward to Bonding With Pitt Staff on Visit



KIPP Columbus High School out in Ohio is a frequent stomping ground for Ryan Manalac and Pitt’s coaching staff on the recruiting trail.

Manalac was out at KIPP recently, checking in with a couple of Pitt targets in the class of 2024, and he spent some time with Jeremiah Watkins — a 6-foot-1, 185-pound three-star wide receiver.

“He was very cool,” Watkins told PSN. “He was telling me things I needed to work on and things that he would like to see me develop and work on off and on the field. But also, he was cool. He was telling me about Pitt, and he made me interested, so that’s why I’m coming.”

Watkins hasn’t yet picked up an offer from Pitt, but he’s making a trip out to Pittsburgh on April 4 for a spring practice visit. “(Manalac) told me to come when I was free and I was free, so I had to book it,” Watkins said.

While Watkins doesn’t yet have an offer from Pitt, holding offers from Bowling Green, Campbell, Central Michigan, Massachusetts, Miami (Oh.), Ohio, Toledo, UAB and Western Michigan, he’s built a strong relationship with Manalac.

It’s Manalac who convinced Watkins to check out Pitt. But it goes deeper than Manalac’s impact upon him.

KIPP teammate Cameron Frazier made it out to Pittsburgh for Pitt’s Junior Day in January, building a bond with wide receivers coach Tiquan Underwood in the process, and he made sure to tell Watkins exactly the kind of guy Underwood is.

Watkins has talked to Underwood a bit himself, but the glowing endorsement from Frazier left him more excited to meet Underwood in person than ever before. Watkins, of course, is gonna try to bring Frazier with him again.

Watkins and Frazier formed a leading 1-2 duo at wide receiver for KIPP in 2022, and in just five games, Watkins racked up 467 yards (20.3 yards per reception) and seven touchdowns on 23 receptions and added 15 tackles (seven solo) and four tackles for loss defensively.

Manalac, while not a wide receivers coach himself, sees a strong, big-bodied wide receiver in Watkins, who is able to play in the slot and outside. He’s a physical presence, but he’s a crafty route runner, too.

247Sports rates Watkins as the 150th-ranked wide receiver and the 65th-ranked recruit from Ohio in the class, while Rivals and On3 haven’t yet rated him. But a strong summer of camp appearances should help him rise across recruiting boards.

Watkins has his April visit lined up right now, and he’s planning a camp appearance over the summer — followed by either an official or unofficial visit down the line depending on how the future unfolds. He also has plans to visit Marshall, Western Michigan, Cincinnati, Michigan State and Michigan over the summer, too.

“Hopefully I can get (an offer) visiting next month, but if I don’t get it, I don’t have any problem coming to camp and show out,” Watkins said. “Also, I’m gonna try to have coach Underwood come visit me in the spring.

“Pitt is actually one of my schools that I want to — I’m very interested in. So, if I do get an offer from there, I will actually take my time and visit down there as much as I can.”

When it comes to where Watkins can see himself playing at the next level, he’s looking for a school where he can build strong relationships. A coaching staff that is able to take him under its wing and help him grow as a player and a person.

Of course, the football aspect, fitting in the offense and carving out a role as early as possible, is important, too.

He’s watched the way Pitt has developed its players over the last few years, taking particular interest in a wideout like Jordan Addison, and he’s liked what he’s seen. In his eyes, Pitt is on the rise.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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