Nephew of former Hawkeye standout among 2024 recruits visiting Iowa football during important weekend

IOWA CITY — Jaylen Watson has had plenty to talk about with his Uncle Fred lately. “We’ve been talking almost every day about Iowa,” Watson said. That’s because his Uncle Fred is Fred Russell, the former Iowa standout running back from the early 2000s. Watson, meanwhile, is among the recruits in the class of 2024 who will be in Iowa City for their official visits this weekend. Iowa is expected to host 20 prospects this weekend, according to On3 Sports, although that includes 11 recruits who already have committed to Iowa. A 5-foot-11, 175-pounder from Toledo, Ohio, Watson is one of four uncommitted defensive backs visiting Iowa this weekend. Graham Eben of Rock Rapids and Floridians Rashad Godfrey and Xavier Lucas also will be there. Iowa still is waiting for its first defensive back commitment of the 2024 class. Watson’s priorities include relationships with staff, academics, NFL potential and the opportunity to be “playing as early as possible.” Watson already has a taste of what it’s like to play for defensive coordinator Phil Parker, who also is the position coach for defensive backs, after competing in an Iowa camp earlier this month. Parker is “somebody I could definitely see myself playing for,” Watson said. “Coach Parker is a real blunt guy,” Watson said. “He’s going to tell you exactly how it is. … That little glimpse of two, three hours with coach Parker was really nice.” Many schools offered Watson before Iowa, including Minnesota, Maryland, West Virginia and Louisville. The Hawkeyes were first to offer him a scholarship as a defensive back, though, rather than wide receiver. “After they offered me, a whole bunch of schools are trying to get me at DB now,” Watson said. Watson’s other top schools are West Virginia, Minnesota, Cincinnati and Maryland. Iowa is expected to be his only official visit before he announces his commitment on July 8. His uncle, meanwhile, is “letting me know some things” from his experience two decades earlier on the Kirk Ferentz-led Hawkeyes. “He wants me to go to the best school that’s for me,” Watson said. “Obviously he thinks Iowa is that, and I completely agree with him. So going on this official visit, I get to see a lot more, hear a lot more about the school.” Important weekend on recruiting calendar The final weekend in June is Iowa’s biggest weekend for official visits and, therefore, a highly consequential weekend. Iowa hosted 22 recruits for official visits at this time last year, according to Rivals. Many of them already had committed to Iowa, but 10 of 13 undecided recruits announced decisions in the subsequent three weeks. Five of the 10 recruits to commit shortly after the official visit chose Iowa. That included Kadyn Proctor, who was the highest-rated recruit to ever choose Iowa until he flipped his commitment in December to Alabama. The late loss of Proctor aside, key commitments such as offensive lineman Trevor Lauck and tight end Zach Ortwerth were in the wake of their end-of-June official visits. It also helped Iowa retain eight of the nine recruits who verbally committed before their official visit.

Latest Player Notes

How Wisconsin athletes are benefiting from a unique NIL deal with Madison's Exact Sciences

Feb 17, 2024MJ Hammill entered what can be a scary time of an athlete’s life in mid-December.She went into the volleyball ...

Mike Griffith: Texas is Georgia's primary focus this offseason

February 16, 2024The Georgia Bulldogs face three SEC contenders on the road next season in Alabama, Texas and Ole Miss. According ...

Navigating a season that could see Texas play Georgia more than once

February 17, 2024The Texas Longhorns and Georgia Bulldogs will play in Austin on Oct. 19. It may not be the only time they ...

After some key departures from the team, Dykes got busy in the portal this offseason.

5:11 PM on Feb 16, 2024Biggest unanswered question: Who will emerge as the clear WR1?Before last season, Williams was the ...

How Louisville football coach Jeff Brohm balances transfer portal, high school recruiting

Louisville Courier JournalCollege football used to buzz on the first Wednesday in February, but Louisville football's office ...

Bob Asmussen | Illinois defense counting on linebackers to plug the gaps

College Football Reporter/ColumnistCHAMPAIGN — A new linebacker coach is in place at Illinois, and Archie McDaniel said he ...

Where Alabama’s quarterback group stands before spring practice

Alabama football’s offense is going to look different this season. Kalen DeBoer has replaced the retired Nick Saban as head ...

Why did AJ McCarron return to the St. Louis Battlehawks?

When AJ McCarron joined the resurrected XFL last year, the former Alabama All-American hadn’t played since suffering a knee ...

Colorado football self-reported 11 minor NCAA violations from Deion Sanders’ first year with Buffs

1/26/2024The Colorado football program has self-reported 11 minor NCAA violations since the hiring of head coach Deion Sanders ...

What Steve Young said about today’s NFL quarterbacks

By Jackson Payne Steve Young may have enjoyed a Hall of Fame career in the NFL, but that doesn’t stop him from feeling just ...
See More Player Notes