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Iowa Football Recruiting: 3-Star Ohio DB Jaylen Watson Commits to Hawkeyes

The Hawkeyes land yet another talented athlete in the class of 2024.

Phil Parker gets another talented athlete for his secondary.

It’s now been two full weeks since the Iowa Hawkeyes hosted their big official visit weekend for the recruiting class of 2024 and the steady drumbeat of positive news continues for the Hawkeyes. In that two week span, Iowa has seen seven verbal commitments from players in the class of 2024. Throw in their first commit in the class of 2025 as well as a pair of preferred walk-ons in 2024 (both of which had G5 scholarship offers on the table) and it’s safe to say the Hawkeyes are rolling on the recruiting trail.

That momentum continues today as Iowa got one step closer to filling up their class of 2024. That comes as Toledo, Ohio athlete Jaylen Watson announced his decision to commit to the Hawkeyes.

Watson is yet another intriguing prospect in this class of 2024 who shows a ton of versatility. He’s been ranked as a 3-star prospect by every major recruiting service, but has been classified as a wide receiver. That’s because every school has been recruiting him at wide out.

That is, every school except Iowa. Phil Parker and the Hawkeyes see something from Watson they like and offered him on the defensive side of the ball, making them the only team to do so.

When turning on the film, it’s difficult to get too much of an idea what exactly the Iowa staff sees on the defensive side of the ball as the vast majority of the tape is for Watson’s time on offense. However, the Toledo Central Catholic prospect, who will close out his high school career in Ohio after transferring from River Rouge High School in Michigan this offseason, camped in Iowa City earlier this summer and ran a 4.47 40-yard dash. That type of speed will translate to the secondary without question.

And while other power 5 programs were believers Watson could be a D1 wide receiver, he never doubted he could excel at the next level on the defensive side of the ball.

“I’m so excited and humbled,” Watson told HawkeyeReport. “I knew I could play DB at the next level. I would say the main reason I picked Iowa was the chance to play for Coach Parker. Who wouldn’t want to be coached by the best in the game?”

That’s some excellent reasoning from an excellent prospect. Of course, having some prior connections to the Hawkeye program didn’t hurt Iowa in Watson’s recruitment either. As noted, Watson is a native of Michigan, where he was actually coached by current Hawkeye Brendan Deasfernandes’ father as a youth. Not surprisingly, Deasfernandes was Watson’s host on campus a few weeks ago. Add in the youngster is the nephew of former Hawkeye Fred Russell and it’s a match made in Heaven.

Watson chose the Hawkeyes over a top five group that included Minnesota, Cincinnati, West Virginia and Maryland, but also held offers from Louisville, Marshall, Miami-OH, Toledo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Bowling Green, Kent State, and Liberty.

The addition of Watson takes Iowa’s class of 2024 up to 19 total commitments. The class is ranked 32nd nationally according to On3 (36th per Rivals and 32nd per 247 Sports). That’s good for 8th in the Big Ten (9th per Rivals and 247 Sports).

With Watson on board, only Texas DE Chima Chineke and Florida DB Xavier Lucas remain as uncommitted prospects who participated in Iowa’s official visit weekend two weeks ago. The Hawkeyes are looking for one more commitment at both defensive line and defensive back, as well as potentially another wide receiver in this class.

Welcome aboard Jaylen Watson!

Jaylen Watson, CB
Ht: 5’10”
Wt: 170 lbs
Hometown: Toledo, OH (Central Catholic)
Stars: 247 Sports - 3; Rivals - 3