Cliff Watson, a Wisconsin-born defenseman that played last season with the Sioux City Musketeers(USHL), and a 2012 6th round draft pick of San Jose Sharks, has committed to Michigan Tech for this upcoming season, replacing recruit Marcus Ericsson on the roster, according to Tech Hockey Guide.
Ericsson, a native of Sweden, had difficulty gaining clearance to play from the NCAA's Eligibility Center(formerly known as the NCAA Clearinghouse), which can often be difficult for players that grew up in Europe. This is the second time this issue has come up with Michigan Tech this summer. Earlier in the summer, goalie Marcus Zelzer had trouble gaining NCAA clearance. Though Zelzer would eventually be cleared by the NCAA to play, Michigan Tech had already taken another commitment from goalie Matt Wintjes by the time Zelzer gained eligibility.
Ericsson's departure opened up a spot for Watson, who had previously been committed to Ohio State, but re-opened his recruiting this past May, after Ohio State fired head coach Mark Osiecki. Watson is a bigger defenseman, measuring at 6'2" 196 lbs. that is a steady skater that can make a solid first pass out of the zone. After struggling a bit in his first season in the USHL, Watson was much stronger and more impressive this past year.
The Huskies are looking to rebuild their blue line after really struggling in that area last season, and the steady defensive presence of Watson should complement nicely with fellow incoming defenseman and potential power play quarterback Shane Hanna.