In 2018, Little Elm seniors Ryan Watts and Tyler Tipton had yet to receive a single college offer.
Watts was an ambitious, rangy cornerback who showed promise, but hadn’t proved yet his skills could translate to the next level.
Tipton, on the other hand, wasn’t even playing football last season – or at any point throughout his high school career. In fact, Tipton believed he could potentially go play tennis somewhere if he was lucky until he found his calling as a kicker roughly six months ago.
Fast-forward to 2019 and the pair quickly became two of the more coveted players in the entire state with Watts’ stock rising rapidly last January thanks to impressive showing at various secondary camps, while Tipton also raised eyebrows at kicking camps over the summer in which he blew the completion out of the water at schools like SMU, Georgetown and Texas State.
This week, the pair of four-star recruits made their collegiate decisions official, as Watts signed his letter of intent to compete at Ohio State next season, and Tipton inked his name to be a kicker next year at Tulsa.
“Today is unbelievable and kind of surreal,” Tipton said. “I can’t believe I’m signing here next to Ryan Watts. That’s just crazy. He’s a great dude and deserves it. There is a reason he’s sitting there signing to Ohio State.”
Watts will finish up his time at Little Elm this week and will graduate early to get a head start in Columbus, where he plans to join the Buckeyes during the first week of January.
There, he will be eligible to practice with the team as Ohio State gears up to compete in the playoffs in the coming weeks but will not be able to travel with the team to any games until next year.
Watts received a plethora of national notoriety less than a year ago when he reeled in over 20 offers in the month of January alone before he verbally committed to Oklahoma last spring. During his senior season, the 6-foot-3 corner announced his decommitment to the Sooners and instead went with the Buckeyes shortly after.
“It’s been hitting me since I committed because I have been thinking about Signing Day since my freshman year,” he said. “I used to watch this on ESPN wishing that was me, and now it’s finally here. It’s everything I have dreamt of and more.”
Aside from his family and some of his closest friends in attendance as he signed his name were diehard Ohio State fans and Frisco residents Daryll and Mary Beth Wartluft, who made the short trip to Little Elm to support Watts in person.
The couple is originally from Ohio and claims to be longtime Buckeyes fans, as they hold high expectations for the young man that they expect to be helping their ball club out each and every Saturday in the near future.
“We know how good he is and what we have found being here is everyone has talked about what a class act he is,” Daryll said. “We saw that and talked to him earlier today, and he is just a great kid. We think he is going to be an asset to the team, and I look for him to move right in and play right away.”