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A March Visit Will Help Advance 2024 3-Star WR Jaylen Watson’s Relationship With Pitt

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Pitt has been checking in on Jaylen Watson since his sophomore season at River Rouge High outside of Detroit, but it’s progressed further than ever in recent weeks.

Watson, a 5-foot-11, 165-pound three-star wide receiver (who will play his senior season at Central Catholic High in Toledo, Ohio), will be in Pittsburgh for an unofficial visit on March 13 — his first time making it out to Pitt.

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When it comes to taking in what Pitt has to offer, the facilities, the coaching staff, the campus and the football, he’s ready to see everything and anything.

“I’ve heard a lot about Pittsburgh, how they share the facilities with the Steelers, so that’ll be nice to see,” Watson told PSN. “And then I just want to see all the coaches, I just want to feel out the vibe, what they’re talking, what they want to talk about and just feel it out for my first time going down there.”

Watson hasn’t picked up an offer from Pitt yet, which is a bit of a surprise considering he talks with secondary coach Archie Collins at least every other day, building a really strong relationship. But it’s a relationship with Collins, who has been his lead recruiter, that feels genuine.

“Just off of coach Collins himself, I really like (Pitt),” Watson said. “You can tell it’s a real genuine. Obviously, I don’t have the offer yet, but just being able to build that bond, I know if the offer does come, I just know it’s genuine. I know it’ll be a real committable offer.”

It’s genuine enough to convince Watson to make a visit down to Pittsburgh, and he’s excited to continue building his relationship with Collins — but also with the coaching staff as a whole.

Watson’s recruiting chase has led to offers from Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Eastern Michigan, Louisville, Maryland, Minnesota, Miami (Oh.), Toledo, Western Michigan and West Virginia, and he’s not worried about a lack of offer from Pitt at this point.

“I feel like if I go down there and camp in June, because the only person that’s really seen me is coach Collins, he probably sold the other staff on the board, but in-person-wise none of them have seen me,” Watson said. “So, I feel like if I go down there and camp or just have a private workout.”

So, of course, after Watson’s unofficial visit in March, he sees himself making it back out to Pitt for a camp appearance over the summer.

Watson was a burner at River Rouge as a junior, racing by defenders on the football field and by competition on the track, and it’s that speed that stood out to Collins as he watched the tape. Pitt sees him as a slot receiver, making use of both his straight-line speed and side-to-side agility and quickness.

247Sports rates him as the 660th-ranked recruit in the class (87th-ranked wide receiver and the 23rd-ranked recruit from Ohio) while On3 rates him as the 735th-ranked recruit in the class (103rd-ranked wide receiver and the 19th-ranked recruit from Michigan).

Rivals rates him as the 17th-ranked recruit from Ohio — holding a 5.6 Rivals Rating.

It will be a very busy spring and summer for Watson as he makes trips out to Minnesota, West Virginia, Pitt, Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan and Michigan State. He wants to hit two or three camps this summer, places where he can see himself playing at the next level.

Watson would like to be committed by the start of his senior season at Central Catholic, but he knows it may not be so simple. When it feels right, sooner or later, he will commit.

When it comes to Pitt, getting to know Collins on a personal level and learning more and more about the program, he loves it. He’s looking forward to getting closer with Pitt, and a visit over the spring will go a long way in advancing that relationship.

When it comes to his relationship with Collins, it’s a solid mix of football and life. Collins loves Watson’s speed, of course, but their relationship is beginning to grow deeper than just football.

An unofficial visit in March will very likely go a long way in advancing Watson’s relationship with Pitt.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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