Ryan Watson sat down to watch the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl on Tuesday night with his mind “pretty much made up.”
Purdue’s matchup with Western Michigan “didn’t have any impact” on Watson's college choice. But one day after the Boilermakers’ 37-32 win over the Broncos in Detroit, the Good Counsel senior was ready to commit to the Big 10 program.
“It feels good to get the decision out of the way,” said Watson, who picked Purdue over Pittsburgh. “[The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl] was a real good game. The defense looked like it was really good. They had four picks and were flying to the ball. It’s a high-tempo game.”
Watson, an Ellicott City resident, wasn’t on Purdue’s radar until defensive coordinator and D-line coach Gary Emanuel came to West Lafayette in 2010 after a two-year stint at Rutgers. Emanuel was recruiting Watson for the Scarlet Knights, and continued that pursuit when he moved on to Purdue.
While Watson’s relationship with Emanuel was strong, he wasn’t totally sure how he felt about Purdue until he visited the campus earlier this month.
“I just knew it was a real good academic school,” Watson said. “I wanted to go see the campus and facilities. [Everything was] really nice, especially the campus. It’s a real communal environment.”
Watson is ranked a four-star prospect, the No. 7 player in Maryland, and the No. 17 strong-side defensive end nationally by Rivals.com. At Purdue, the 6-foot-3, 275-pound player will start out at defensive tackle in the Boilermakers’ 4-3 scheme.
“[The Purdue coaches like] my quickness and my pass-rush ability,” Watson said. “They’re expecting me to come in and be able to probably play if I’m good enough.”
Watson plans to visit Georgia Tech next month with his Good Counsel teammate Roderick Chungong, a Yellow Jackets commitment. But despite making the previously scheduled trip to Atlanta, Watson said he’s completely committed to Purdue.
“I just plan on playing to my full potential and getting on the field early,” he said. “I’m just mostly excited to be able to play in college and get to know more people and make a contribution.”