“My coach said LSU was going to offer but he hadn’t heard anything then they called him the day I didn’t go to school,” Watkins said. “The next day my coach forgot to tell me they called then when I got home I had the letter waiting on me at home.”
Watkins (6-0, 175, 4.44) took some time to enjoy the moment since LSU was one of the schools he was hoping would offer. The next day when he got to school he called up to the football office and spoke to LSU receivers coach D.J. McCarthy and head coach Les Miles.
“They told me they would love for me to come play at LSU and was telling me a lot about the school,” said Watkins. “We talked a little about what they liked about me too and they said they liked how versatile I was and could play anywhere. They especially liked my ability to tackle and to be physical.”
Watkins has not yet made contact with secondary coach Ron Cooper but he plans to touch base with him in the next couple of days. No one should read anything into that as a sign of a lack of interest because that certainly isn’t the case.
“LSU is one of the schools that I’m really keeping an eye on and that will be there when I do start really narrowing things down,” he said. “They’re a top program and they always compete and produce top players. They’ve turned out a lot of good DB’s over the last few years and I hear a lot of good things about what they’re doing right now.”
Watkins hasn’t been to LSU and says he doesn’t know a lot about the school, but he did catch a few of the Tigers’ games last season on television. He was in the stands when LSU played at Florida last season and that was one of several trips he’s made to the Swamp and Gainesville.
“I went to two of Florida’s games and then I went to junior day so that’s the school that I’m most familiar with,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of that school so now I can have something to compare the others to.”
Watkins’ list of potential visits could grow if his offer list is any sign. He currently holds 18-19 offers by his estimation and along with LSU his list of suitors includes the likes of Florida, Alabama, Ohio State, Tennessee, Florida State, Miami, and Georgia to name some.
“I had kind of narrowed things down some but I realized I need to take some unofficial visits, and get a feel for other schools before I limit myself,” he said. “I’m pretty sure I’m going to Florida in the next few weeks then I think I’m going to Miami next week. We’re still trying to plan something to LSU, Georgia and Alabama too.”
What those schools see in the standout corner is probably the same that LSU sees.
As a junior, Watkins excelled on both sides of the ball. He collected 71 tackles and picked off three passes on defense, and added 329 yards rushing and five touchdowns to go with 419 yards passing and five more scores as a part time quarterback.
As talented as Watkins is on the field and as strong as his passion for the game is though, there is one variable that will trump the others when it comes time to selecting a college.
“The academics at the school are the most important then it’s how I feel about the coaches and if I’m comfortable with them,” he said. “I’m going to be spending the next four or five years at the school so I need to make sure I’m comfortable there.”
In the beginning, Watkins figured that he was destined to stay in-state and close to home when his days of high school were behind him. That quickly subsided, however, after a conversation he had with his mother.
“At first staying close to home was on my mind but now I’ve kind of opened up after I sat down and talked to my mom,” he said. “She made me realize I have to do what’s best for me and if that’s going out of state then that’s what I need to do.”