After signing five linebackers on the first day of the new early signing period, Maryland will close it by adding yet another member to the position group, this time in the form of Illinois graduate transfer Tre Watson.
The Decision Part 1 pic.twitter.com/2ancWVP6bg— Tre Watson (@ILL_Tre33) December 22, 2017
The Decision Part 2 pic.twitter.com/eMGxnLKJ1v— Tre Watson (@ILL_Tre33) December 22, 2017
Watson is the first graduate transfer of the offseason for DJ Durkin and the Terps, who just inked their second consecutive top-25 recruiting class. With linebackers Jermaine Carter, Shane Cockerille and Jalen Brooks graduating, Maryland was tasked with replacing two starting linebackers and another key contributor. One may think that bringing in five freshmen—all of whom bring something different to the linebacking corps—would be a sufficient replacement, but Watson is an established veteran.
The Fighting Illini’s third-leading tackler in 2017, Watson recorded 65 tackles in only nine games, good for No. 14 in the Big Ten in tackles per game. He also had 4.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and an interception. He chose Maryland over Vanderbilt and North Dakota State and will have one year of eligibility remaining.
Coming out of Tampa Catholic High School, Watson was a three-star recruit, the No. 95 outside linebacker in the country, and the No. 189 overall prospect in the talent-rich Sunshine State in 2014.