The future stars of Ohio State football officially begin their college careers, as standouts from all over the country put pens to their National Letters of Intent.
Ryan Watts III is not Jeff Okudah. Not quite. Not yet.
But the 6-foot-2.5, 185-pound cornerback from Little Elm High School does bring a Texas flavor to the Buckeyes. One that could end up becoming a Year One contributor and Year Two starter if things go as planned for the former Oklahoma commit.
The Watts File
- Class: 2020
- Size: 6-foot-2.5/185 lbs
- Pos: CB
- School: Little Elm (Little Elm, Texas)
- Composite Rating: ★★★★
- Composite Rank: 17 CB
Okudah was the No. 1-ranked corner in the 2017 class and the No. 8 prospect overall. Watts does not compete with that recruiting profile, as the four-star senior is ranked the No. 17 corner in this class and No. 258 overall prospect.
But Watts still has the potential to end up becoming a one-on-one cover corner at the next level, just as Okudah has become.
Watts does not possess much speed or quickness, but his length and frame allows him to make up for that, and if he makes the right progressions in Mickey Marotti's strength and conditioning program, he has the potential to work his way into a starter's role.
Watts had been committed to Ohio State since April 2019, but he took a secret trip to Ohio State to see if Columbus and the Buckeyes' program would be a good fit for him. He loved it enough to make a return trip in an official capacity for the Buckeyes' win over Miami (Ohio) on Sept. 21, and that was enough to launch a decommitment from the Sooners and secure an Ohio State commitment.
But when Jeff Hafley was announced as the new Boston College head coach this past weekend, the Buckeye co-defensive coordinator/secondary coach's departure brought with it some understandable shakiness to Watts' commitment at first.
And then, Watts took the night to sleep on things, let the situation breathe, and he decided that Ryan Day's program was where he wanted to be, even though Hafley was the No. 1 reason Watts decided to eschew an opportunity in Norman for one in Columbus.
"I love the coaching staff and the DBs in the room," Watts told Eleven Warriors on Oct. 13, the day of his Ohio State commitment. "When I took my visit there, everyone was just so genuine. I felt like I could fit right in."