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Western Michigan WR Keishawn Watson transfers to Appalachian State

A starting Broncos’ receiver moves down south to the Sun Belt as a grad transfer.

NCAA Football: Western Michigan at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Western Michigan wide receiver Keishawn Watson announced his transfer to Appalachian State via Twitter on Sunday evening. At 6:26 p.m. ET, Watson tweeted the following message, thanking Western Michigan for his four years while announcing the pursuit of a master’s at Appalachian State.

Watson is a graduate transfer and will be eligible to play immediately for the Mountaineers. In three seasons seeing the field as a Bronco, Watson tallied 68 receptions for 728 yards and nine touchdowns. As a redshirt sophomore in 2017, Watson led the Broncos in receptions (41) and touchdown receptions (7) while ranking third on the team in receiving yards (374). Last season, he was fourth on the team in receiving yards with 330 on 25 receptions. He seldom played as a redshirt freshman in 2016 but was a member of the most accomplished Western Michigan team in history, finishing 13-1 with a Cotton Bowl appearance. Watson started the majority of games in his sophomore and junior season, primarily alongside wide receiver D’Wayne Eskridge.

At Western Michigan, his career highs were: 6 receptions, 93 yards, and 2 touchdowns — the latter of the two which occurred in a late-September rout of Ball State in 2017. As a frequent end zone weapon, Watson posted many highlights in his time in Kalamazoo, but his most notable highlight in college was a wild “catch/scoop-and-score” touchdown in a 42-35 win over Bowling Green last season.

Watson entered the transfer portal last January before announcing his final decision. His final destination in Boone, NC, harbors one of the more successful college football programs in recent history. In the College Football Playoff era (2014-present), Appalachian State is one of four teams to post a bowl record of 4-0 or better (Wisconsin, Louisiana Tech, Marshall) and App State has yet to lose a postseason game since joining the FBS ranks.

The Mountaineers won the inaugural Sun Belt Championship Game over Louisiana last December, and they boast the eighth best winning percentage in college football over the past five seasons (0.750) with a 48-16 record. Appalachian State returns its top three receivers from 2018, all of whom will enter their junior season — Corey Sutton, Thomas Hennigan, and Malik Williams. Watson will add more veteran experience to an already stacked wideout corps on a team that’s built to contend for a New Year’s Six bowl, coached by rookie head coach Eli Drinkwitz.

For Western Michigan, it’ll have a young wide receiver depth chart behind the veteran Eskridge. The Broncos have a reliable wide receiver in Jayden Reed who dazzled as a freshman with team-highs in receptions (56), yards (797), and touchdowns (8). Jaylen Hall, also a freshman in 2018, will likely move up to be the third receiver on the depth chart to replace Watson.