Eighteen days before his senior season kicks off, Leilehua High School defensive back Charles Moku Watson put an end to the suspense Monday, making his collegiate commitment to Washington State University.
Tabbed as a three-star recruit by Scout.com, Watson chose the Cougars over nine other NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) offers, including a final six that he revealed last week, being Hawaii, Fresno State, San Diego State, Oregon State, and Vanderbilt.
“The coaches at Washington State really showed me love in the past couple months. Coach Joe Salavea, they recruited me heavy, and Coach Grinch showed me how he wants to use me inside his defense, so I built bonds with a lot of the Washington State commits,” Watson told KHON2 sports director Rob DeMello. “The Pac-12 is more of a receiver DB school, so it gives you a chance to shine, and really lock some receivers up in the Pac-12, so it’s exciting.”
Standing at 6’1″ and 185 pounds, Watson was hand-timed with a 4.40 40-yard dash time in the off-season, and was named a Rising Star honoree by Brian Te‘o as a junior as part of season three of KHON2’s Cover2 Hawaii High School Football Weekly.
Watson, who hopes to get into acting or broadcasting after a lengthy football career, says he is realizing a lifelong dream of being able to attend college on scholarship while playing the game he loves without placing financial burden on his family.
“I’m just grateful, you know? I’m thankful that I am blessed to have the opportunities to take my talents to a school and not have to pay for (tuition) and not have my family worry about it,” he said. “My mom’s real proud of me, my cousins and aunties are real happy. I think I’m more happy to see them happy, so very excited, very proud, and very humble.”
Watson, who can turn his verbal commitment into a binding one on National Letter of Intent signing day on Feb. 1, still intends to make his scheduled visits of other campuses, but says “at this time, I am fully committed to Washington State.”
While in the KHON2 studio to make his commitment, Watson made it very clear on numerous occasions that he owes a lot to the people who helped him get to this point, and is fueled by a mission to make them proud.
“First off, I just want to thank God for giving me talent and blessing me, and I want to give a big shout-out to everyone that’s helped me,” he said. “Coach Mark Kurisu, my DB coach, he put a lot of work into me. He believed in me from my freshman year when I didn’t believe in myself, so that guy is a big part in my success, and all the coaches at Leilehua, all the coaches that take time to put in work for me. Coach Rod York has helped me out, Kenny Patton, a lot of people have put in work for me, so I just want to thank them because, because of them, I am where I am.”
Watson’s senior season with the Mules will begin on Aug. 5 when Leilehua hosts Punahou.