Most of the high school prospects who’ve committed to Washington State in the current recruiting cycle won’t arrive on campus until next summer, and not until January at the earliest.
On Friday, the Cougars got some immediate help, and perhaps at a position where it’s needed the most.
Ventura College cornerback Jaylen Watson, a one-time USC signee who had a handful of Power Five offers and was twice named an All-American at the junior college level, committed to WSU Friday afternoon, giving the Cougars what could be the final piece of the 2020 roster.
Last February, Watson signed a letter of intent to play with the Trojans but decommitted for academic reasons. In a Twitter letter to USC fans, Watson indicated he had an “overload of courses” he still needed to take to become Division I eligible and would utilize a redshirt year in 2019.
Watson played the 2017 and ’18 seasons at Ventura College and should have two seasons of eligibility remaining when he arrives at WSU. According to 247Sports.com, he also had offers from Arizona, Oregon State, Louisville, Kentucky and eight more mid-major programs.
The Augusta, Georgia, native is considered a three-star prospect according to 247Sports.com’s junior college rankings and has a tall, rangy frame at 6-foot-2, 195 pounds.
During the 2018 season, the most recent one Watson played in, the cornerback had 43 tackles in 13 games, two tackles-for-loss, four interceptions, 13 pass breakups and one fumble recovery. He had 10 punt returns for 163 yards as well.
While helping lead the Pirates to an 11-2 overall record in 2018, the Southern California Football Association championship and a runner-up state finish, Watson collected California Community College Football Coaches Association First Team All-American honors for the second straight season.
Prior to Ventura College, Watson played at Georgia’s Laney College, winning Region 4-AA Offensive Player of the Year honors as a senior and excelling as a wide receiver before making a full-time transition to defense in college.
Currently, the Cougars have five scholarships cornerbacks listed on the roster and at least one of those, Armani Marsh, projects more as a nickel in Jake Dickert’s defense. This fall Watson will likely compete with returners Derrick Langford and George Hicks III, who both have starting experience, along with Armauni Archie and Halid Djibril, who played mostly special teams last season. WSU also signed three cornerbacks who should bring more depth to the position: Justin Anderson, Chau Smith and Alphonse Oywak.