Jacksonville's Eric Watts Commits To Illini

The Fighting Illini are looking for tough, hardnosed, aggressive, fast football players to help out on defense and special teams. It appears they have found a quality candidate in Eric Watts. The Jacksonville, Florida athlete is excited to be an Illini.

Eric Watts is a 6'-1", 215 pound safety/athlete out of Wolfson High School in Jacksonville, Florida. He showed his versatility by playing several positions.

"I played safety, outside linebacker, middle linebacker and running back. At running back, I was especially good on short yardage situations. I also returned kicks. I had a couple big runbacks, although I didn't score. I'll play anywhere I am asked."

Eric is considered one of the most underrated players in Florida. His speed and aggressiveness defensively are what attracted Illinois to him. Jacksonville native Dan Disch was the primary Illini recruiter.

"Coach Disch has been recruiting me for four years, and I feel comfortable with him and Coach Zook."

Watts considers his ability to see the whole field and diagnose plays to be his best attribute.

"My best thing is my ability to make reads. I can see what is coming and use my speed and athleticism to make a play."

Eric is also a starter on his school's outstanding basketball team. In fact, it was prior to Friday night's basketball game where he made his public announcement to attend Illinois.

"We had senior night Friday with the basketball team, and I told everyone then I was planning to attend Illinois. They all were excited about it."

Wolfson is having an outstanding basketball season, and Watts plays an important role.

"I am a starting guard. I am good defensively, and I am a good three point shooter. We are 18-2 and ranked second in the state. We may be ranked #1 soon."

It usually takes freshmen awhile to adjust to the college game. So finding his best position and then learning the defense may take him awhile to adjust. But Eric may still see the field early on special teams. Illinois' special teams needs fast, aggressive, hard-hitting players, and that is a good description for him.

"Coach Disch says I have a chance to be on the field for the first play of the first game next fall, whether that is for the kickoff or kickoff return. I feel I can help the team on special teams."

Eric Watts chose the Illini over Ole Miss and South Florida. South Carolina was also involved. He plans to major in business or business management.

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