Justin Watkins (Photo by John Garcia, Jr.)

FSU not likely to hold onto in-state pledge Justin Watkins, who details three schools standing out

DAVENPORT, Fla. -- Justin Watkins didn't have much to say of the school he is committed to but a Big 12 program could be his next stop either way.

Florida State has held the verbal commitment of Ocala (Fla.) Vanguard athlete Justin Watkins since last summer but it now seems like the Seminoles aren't likely to retain that spot atop his list as the spring progresses.

It goes back to the Scout four-star's latest verbal offer.

"I picked up an offer from Texas, I've been leaning towards them a little bit, I like that coaching staff," he said. "Honestly they might be my leader right now. I've been talking to the head coach and in like a week I've built this relationship so good."

Tom Herman has created plenty of buzz in Austin, but landing Watkins on or shortly after next weekend's visit would represent his highest-ranked high school pledge since taking the job. 

"I like how they are gonna play me, in the slot, special teams, kick return...plus coach told me if I commit, that slot spot is mine," Watkins said. "It's closed. It means a lot, that's why I'm leaning towards them, I haven't heard that from another school yet. I've been talking to coach Herman, Stan Drayton, the running backs coach, coach Drew (Mehringer), all of them. 

"I want to learn about the city, look at the facilities, talk to the coaches in person and ask some important questions."


So is Florida State No. 2 on Watkins' list?

He didn't mention the program he is pledged to, instead he mentioned one he was committed to earlier in his recruitment in addition to another in-state program among schools he is in contact with most frequently.

"LSU and Florida are up there, too," he said. "When I was a freshman I was committed to LSU but they have changed coaches and all that. I like the new coaches, I actually went up there for a bowl practice, I liked the way they practice -- smooth. The swag is different...

"Florida, I know every coach, all the coaches. I go there any time I want to and our relationship gets better every time. I'm most comfortable there, that's important because it's like 20 minutes from home."

As for when a move may be made, Watkins has a wide open timetable. He admits the Texas visit looms large in his perception of the school. Should things go well next weekend, he could make a commitment flip. Otherwise, he says he is most likely to stretch his recruitment through the bulk of 2017, possibly all the way through his participation in an All-American game around the New Year.

The blue-chip talent, who worked out at wide receiver Sunday at The Opening Orlando, earned an invite to The Opening Finals following the effort. 

Scout's Take

Watkins is a young man that can flat-out fly down the field. He's tagged as a running back in the current 2018 rankings, but played the role of a dynamic pass catcher all afternoon. He doesn't take much off the accelerator when making sharp cuts down the field, and was certainly one of the more explosive players in attendance.

This is a well-reserved kid that doesn't say a whole lot, but the play on the field speaks for itself. This is an exciting player that can be moved all around the offense.

Scout Football Top Stories