Over the coming months, we will be running a series of scouting report on the incoming class of high school signees for the Hokies which continues today with a look at three-star QB William Watson III out of Springfield, MA. Check out the other scouting report we have run to date below.
- 3* QB Dylan Wittke (Buford, GA)
Watson was one of five December flips or pickups within a week of a decommitment as Watson flipped to the Hokies from Nebraska following his official visit to Blacksburg on the second weekend of December.
While Massachusetts isn't know for being a recruiting hotbed, Watson was a clear standout talent who was dominant over the past two seasons. His 2022 season was his finest performance to date as he threw for 2,059 yards with 17 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions plus a completion rate of 67.7%. Add in 76 carries for 863 yards and 21 touchdowns averaging 11.4 yards per carry and it's easy to see why he had plenty of Power 5 interest.
Of course, there are plenty that may be wondering if his talent is legitimate given the state he's coming out of so let's put on the tape and take a look.
The first thing you'll probably see is Watson's ability to extend plays and turn nothing into something. Again and again, he turns these bad plays into broken plays full of opportunity with some good awareness and just an innate never die attitude on any play.
There's a creativity to his game that is almost reminiscent of the style of play that guys like Johnny Manziel brought to the college game with an emphasis of style. Like Manziel who seemed to find ways to extend plays and turn very big nothing plays into something, Watson shows a lot of that at the high school level while also making those somethings happen with his arm and not just pure scrambling. The fact that we do see some of these scrambles turn into smart decisions to pass shows great poise that you have to have to succeed at the highest level of college football.
Now he won't be able to get away with all that in college and will have to grow in learning when he has an opportunity to turn nothing into something and when trying to do that will do more harm and cost the offense significant yardage but to see that desire to look for the second and third play when things go awry is encouraging.
His mobility is also very good as he has legit speed that should translate well to him being an effective runner at the collegiate level when called upon. Even though he lists on his Hudl that he runs a 4.71 40 yard dash, the tape suggests actual game speed that lives up to someone a little faster than that. Of course, there are plenty of guys who can run fast in shorts and then guys who actually run fast in full pads with the bright lights on.
Given how Tech emphasized using Grant Wells more in their rushing attack as the season progressed, Watson should fit well in this offense with the upside he brings in that regard.
As a passer, there's a lot to like with Watson especially given that he shows good accuracy and simply smart ball placement with plenty of passes that are in spots where only his guy can catch it even if in some cases, it means a little harder catch. His arm strength may not be light the world on fire but it is pretty good as a whole.
Of course, part the concern with Watson is the fact that he wasn't exactly facing the toughest competition in the Northeast that most of this class faced elsewhere in the country. There will be a step up though the fact that he's played in the US Army Bowl is a plus in terms of that adjustment to the step up.
His size at 6'0'' and 180 pounds is also a concern moreso on the durability front than anything else. Modern college football shows that you don't need to be a 6'4'' QB to have success at any level of the sport but the smaller you are, the more durability concerns there are due to simply physiological realities.
There's loads of potential with Watson along with some innate playmaking and creativity that makes you think he can be a big time player at the Power 5 level. It's easy to see why he landed at Nebraska initially and why his offer list was as solid as it was even if not all of those schools were takes by the time he made his first decision or his final one.
If I had to grade him, I think I would put him in the high three-star around an 88 or 89 more in line with On3 than say 247, ESPN, or Rivals.
Could Watson be the Hokies' next starting QB after Kyron Drones or Grant Wells say in 2025? It wouldn't surprise me at all and though I might lean slightly towards the slightly older Devin Farrell purely because of age, Watson may be the best choice for the next VT starting QB after Drones and Wells.