North Point rising senior Marquise Watts visited Temple for the first time earlier this month for camp but felt he needed another trip to the Philadelphia school to gauge whether it might be the right fit.
Watts spent Friday exploring the urban campus and getting a better feel for the coaches without the pressure of performing on the field. By Saturday, the 6-foot-4, 225-pound tight end was ready to phone assistant Francis Brown and offer his oral commitment. He picked the Owls over offers from Connecticut, Appalachian State, Toledo and Towson.
“I really liked it up there,” Watts said. “I got to try on a jersey, and I just knew that’s where I wanted to play.”
After a junior season in which he caught 30 passes for 523 yards and five touchdowns, Watts picked up his first offer from Temple in May, and the Owls, under first-year coach Matt Rhule, quickly became the front runner in his recruitment. (Check out his junior highlights here.)
Though intrigued by the prospect of attending school in the city, he wasn’t anticipating a quick commitment until last week’s day trip finished the sell. He hadn’t visited any of his other suitors and said he’s likely to make an unofficial visit to Connecticut, which offered recently.
“I like how it’s different than Waldorf,” Watts said of Temple.
Watts said he’s now training his focus on his senior season with the Eagles looking to bounce back from a 7-3 campaign that wasn’t good enough to make the Maryland 4A East playoffs.
Rated a three-star recruit by Rivals.com, Watts played mostly offense last year, catching passes from quarterback Brandon Battle and blocking for speedy running back Marquel Dickerson, both of whom are slated to return. Watts also expects to see more snaps at defensive end this fall.
“We’ve got more experience” this year, Watts said. “Everybody’s pushing each other to get better every day.”
Watts also hopes to rejoin the basketball team for his final high school season. He was a reserve center for the Eagles as a freshman and sophomore but did not play last year to concentrate on his football training.