News

FOOTBALL RECRUITING: Secondary stars find homes at BCS schools, Watts-Jackson to Big 10, Maddox to ACC

   | Scott Burnstein

FOOTBALL RECRUITING: Secondary stars find homes at BCS schools, Watts-Jackson to Big 10, Maddox to ACC

The market has been cornered.

A pair of the state’s best prep cornerbacks on the football field committed to BCS schools this week, with Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Jalen Watts-Jackson committing to Michigan State and Detroit King’s Avonte Maddox committing to the University of Pittsburgh.

Eager to become a Spartan since he began playing on the gridiron in high school, Watts-Jackson (5-foot-11, 175 pounds) is entering his third year starting for state-power St. Mary’s, helping the Eaglets to a Division 3 state championship in 2011 and a return trip into the state finals last fall.

He has 13 interceptions in his varsity career so far and had a “buzzy” early offseason, impressing scouts at 7-on-7 workouts and showcase camps alike, such as last week’s Sound Mind, Sound Body Football Academy held at Southfield.

Versatile and incredibly athletic, Maddox (5-foot-9, 165 pounds) is a speed demon, being clocked as fast as 4.37 in the 40-yard dash. When he was a sophomore, King made an appearance in the Division 2 state semifinals.

Both Maddox and Watts-Jackson can also return kicks and punts on special teams and start at wide receiver at the prep level.

They’re each two-sport standouts at their respective schools as well, Watts-Jackson in football and basketball and Maddox in football and baseball. Where Watts-Jackson is a top-rate defensive-stopper on the hardwood, Maddox is a multi-year all-league selection on the diamond coming out of the PSL at shortstop. There is a possibility he will be drafted into MLB next spring.

Watts-Jackson is the tenth recruit to commit to Michigan State’s Class of 2014 crop, fourth hailing from in-state. Idaho, Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan were the other Division I programs in hot pursuit of his talents.

Matt Linehan, the son of Detroit Lions' offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and Watts-Jackson's quarterback last year is on his way to play at Idaho with the Vandals, his dad's alma mater, and had been lobbying to get his favorite target to come with him. If he would have kept himself on the market, experts felt there was a good chance Watts-Jackson would have earned additional Big 10 offers, possibly from Iowa and Penn State, two schools that have been circling him for sometime without putting forth an official offer.

Maddox is the seventh recruit to come on board at Pittsburgh, third this week and second overall spawning from the state of Michigan (the other being Traverse City West offensive lineman Connor Hayes). Cincinnati, Ball State, Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan and Toledo were the school's Maddox turned his back on by choosing the Panthers, who have been hitting the in-state recruiting trail extra hard this past year or so.

Pittsburgh left the Big East and will begin competing in the ACC when the 2013 campaign gets going in August.

Harbor Springs' David Walker (TE/DE) was another in-stater to commit to a Division I school this week, announcing he was bound for Mt. Pleasant and Central Michigan University back on Monday.