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Bryce Watts has the versatility to play WR or CB. [Credit: @brycewatts2_6][/caption]Bryce Watts committed to the Hokies last week on January 21st amidst the four players in four days that Fuente and his coaching staff were able to pull off. He was previously committed to Rutgers but decided to open up his recruitment again on January 15th. He was a three-star WR/DB for Toms River North High School in New Jersey. However, it is being said that he will be reevaluated with his senior film, and his rating might get a significant boost after that.
Some basic measurable for Watts:
- 6' 1"
- 170 lbs
- 4.4 40 yard dash (!!)
Watching his film, it's obvious that Watts is a great pickup for Fuente and his staff. It's still unclear whether he will be a wide receiver or a defensive back, but he will be a great fit at either position.
In many instances on his senior highlights, Watts just blows past any defenders that are guarding him and cruises into the endzone. His speed is something that isn't to be taken lightly, and he shows it off on many of his scores. Additionally, he excels on screen passes as well -- a staple of Fuente and his offensive playbook -- as he is patient waiting for the other receiver to find the block, and then Watts explodes up the field.
Watts also showed off his running ability on several jet sweeps -- again, a staple of the Hokies playbook. He is patient as he works across the formation, and then finds the hole that he wants to run through and cuts very quickly up field. This is something that Virginia Tech has lacked in the past couple seasons; a receiver or running back that is patient enough to wait for blocking, but also assertive enough to hit the hole hard the moment it opens up.
His open field awareness once he has the ball is impressive. He knows where the other defenders are, is agile enough to avoid them, all while still going full speed after the catch. There is one clip in his film where he cuts clear across the field after a catch, avoiding several tackles along the way.
On defense, Watts is a hard hitting, speedy, athletic corner. His play style reminds me a lot of how Mook Reynolds played last season. He's very capable of dropping back into coverage but on blitzes, he is in the backfield very quickly and tackles very efficiently.
He shows off his speed by breaking on the ball very quickly and getting in between the receiver and the ball, usually timing it perfectly and hitting the receiver right as he catches it, jarring the ball loose. He also has the speed to come across the field and assist on tackles after a catch even though he isn't initially involved in the play. This type of gang tackling is something that Coach Foster loves, and Watts would fit in perfectly with DBU.
On longer developing run plays, Watts is almost always disrupting the backfield. Whether that be by making the tackling or taking a blocker away and opening up the tackle for another defensive player, Watts is finding a way to make an impact. This is where he reminds me of Reynolds. Mook was all over the field last year, making several big tackles in the backfield, including the big sack late in the game against Arkansas.
- Watts also returned punts, which could be an interesting use of his speed if he doesn't end up getting a lot of play time as a true freshman on defense or offense. He is extremely quick and shifty, and gets up field efficiently after fielding the punt. It should be an interesting competition between him, Hunter, and Stroman next year for Coach Shibest.
- As mentioned before, it's unclear whether he is going to play on the offensive or defensive side of the ball. I know there is always the possibility of both sides, but I would rather see him as a wide receiver. I think with Hunter coming in, he will be the main freshman getting playing time on the defensive side of the ball. The Hokies are hurting a little bit for wide receiver depth, and with Fuente's offensive scheme, it never hurts to have another speedy receiver available to play.
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