2014 Ohio Athlete Excels At Illinois Camp

The Fighting Illini football coaching staff has already begun presenting verbal offers to younger prospects. One of the most impressive 2014 campers at Friday Night Lights was Dareian Watkins, who has an Illini offer. He plays multiple positions including quarterback and excels at all of them.

Dareian Watkins appears to be a special prospect for the 2014 class. The Galion, Ohio, native plays multiple positions. Speaking just prior to the Friday Night Lights camp, he shared how he planned to divide his time.

"At the camp here today, we'll start out with the quarterbacks, then switch over to receivers and maybe some db too. They'll just have me do it all today."

He was tremendous at whatever he did Friday. The 5'-11", 194 pounder ran a 4.53 forty and 4.13 shuttle, and he was smooth doing both. And that was despite dealing with a nasty cold.

He showed a strong arm with excellent touch and quick feet at quarterback, and he was equally impressive as a receiver. He rushed past defenders twice for long touchdown catches, the second a diving grab deep in the end zone.

Does Watkins have a position preference?

"That's a tossup. I've only played quarterback one year, so I don't know how much better I can get at it. The same with receiver, I just played it one year. So those are things I can get better at."

He is attending various camps to help him learn more about each position.

"This is my fourth camp. I've been to Ashland, Kentucky and Toledo. I'm going to West Virginia Sunday. It's a long weekend.

"I want to learn and get better. I still need to work on a lot of stuff. That's why I come here, to get better. It's hard to focus on just one position because I play so many. That's why at each camp I go to, I switch back and forth."

His best asset is not surprising.

"My versatility. I can pretty much do whatever the coach tells me to do. I don't have any problem doing whatever. And I'm coachable, easy to coach. Those are my strengths. As a quarterback, it's my ability to make plays, getting away from pressure, making the smart reads."

Watkins is being recruited by Illinois as an athlete. If he winds up on defense, he will have experience there also.

"I'm a cornerback on defense. I can read the quarterback because that's what I do. So just being able to read and know what's going on is a strength."

He admits the early attention from colleges has been a special surprise.

"Oh yeah, especially since I'm so young. Being a sophomore and having so many schools look at me and want me is pretty exciting. I'm just taking it all in. I've still got two more years, so things may get even better."

Illinois is his only offer to date, and that will not be forgotten when he finally chooses a college. He shares what will help him make up his mind.

"How easily I get along with the coaching staff. And the academic portion because I'll actually get an education while I go to school. I want to do something with computers, like computer technology classes."

For those unfamiliar with Galion, Watkins gives a geography report.

"Galion is an hour north of Columbus, around the Mansfield area. Between Columbus and Sandusky."

Whomever lands this young star will be getting an intelligent prospect with a personality to match. Add in his special athletic ability, and there's little doubt he will have an outstanding future.

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