Karr High School (New Orleans, LA)
NR: 88 Rating: ***
THE STATS: Nick Watkins was a three-year starter at linebacker and a team captain his senior year at Karr High School in New Orleans. He brought in All-District Honors in both 2001 and 2002. He registered 118 total tackles, 7 sacks, and 2 interceptions this past season and chose the Tigers over Auburn, Oklahoma State, Louisiana Tech, and Ole Miss.
STRENGTH: Watkins comes from a school known for producing quality Division-I linebackers, and he may be the most underrated prospect signed in 2003 by the Tigers. He comes to Clemson with good size and a good work ethic and some versatility. He could play a variety of positions for the Tigers, including inside linebacker, outside linebacker, the rover position, or even the whip in John Lovett's scheme. He also has outstanding quickness for a prospect his size, running the 40-yard dash in under 4.6 seconds.
WEAKNESS: His coaches say that he'll need to work on his angle of attack at the collegiate level where his pure speed will be neutralized by faster players. Overall though, the general consensus is that he really isn't coming to Clemson with a noticeable weakness, and that he might be one of the few players physically ready to compete at the collegiate level in the 2003 class.
WHY CLEMSON? "Clemson really just had the most to offer me, it wasn't even close. When I got there and everything was just really nice," said Watkins. "I'm not used to seeing mountains and the campus was great and everybody just made me feel right at home when I made my official visit. I really just felt like Clemson offered me so much more than some of the other schools like Auburn or Oklahoma State. I knew that's where I wanted to go when I visited there in January."
HS COACH QUOTE: "Nick is a tough hitter and really punishes the opposing team. He's also a big hitter that can force the action and make plays for your defense, and you really can't a lot of kids how to do that. He's the kind of linebacker that will seek you out, find you, and hit you in the mouth. I've been around some great linebackers in my day, and Nick definitely ranks up there with some of the best one's I've ever coached."
COACH BOWDEN: "Nick is a guy from Louisiana that will really be able to help us in the coming years. He had a lot of different schools after him and Burton Burns did a great job in his recruitment. He's another player that we feel like may have the opportunity to play earlier in his career rather than later."
Quick Hits with Nick Watkins
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