Grossmont CC lineman Watson Draws Interest

The Fighting Illini football team, energized by the addition of four exciting new assistant coaches, is working overtime to improve its recruiting haul for the 2009-10 season. Looking to the junior colleges for immediate help, the Illini are talking with a number of players including Ja'Rodd Watson, an defensive lineman from California.

Ja'Rodd Watson played on the defensive line for Grossmont Community College the last two seasons. Illinois became interested in him recently.

"I just found out I'm an immediate qualifier and can enter school in January," Watson relates. "So that's when the recruiting started."

Has he had a chance to visit the Illini?

"Not yet. I just heard from them a couple days ago."

A number of schools have been in contact with the 6'-2", 275 pounder.

"I am being heavily recruited by a couple other big schools, but I don't know how interested the other schools are to be honest with you. I've got Nevada, Temple, Miami of Ohio, Colorado State, ASU, Grambling, Oregon State. They're all Division l, Division 1-AA."

Junior college players are now able to sign a scholarship tender for January enrollment. Time is short to make a decision. Will he be setting up a visit with Illinois soon?

"If I can set up a visit before the dead period, of course. But if not, I'm just gonna have to do whatever I feel is right."

The Illini have a connection to Watson through Trulon Henry from the College of Dupage, who is leaning to the Illini. They met last week in California.

"Trulon and I played in the All-American game together. We met there and became pretty good friends. We've stayed in close contact since that game, talking about our decision on schools and stuff. We played against each other, and we both had pretty good games. We're both very interested in Illinois."

Grossmont had a successful season.

"We did well. We beat El Camino when they were the number one team in the nation. We had some ups and downs, but we finished well and ended 8-3."

Watson describes his game.

"I'm a d-tackle or d-end. I led my team with 13 sacks, and I had 39 tackles. 90% of those were in the backfield. Half the sacks came from the 3-technique and the other half from the 5-technique. So I play all over the place.

"My strength is definitely rushing the passer. I'm quick off the ball, so I can get in the backfield real fast."

If Watson can clear administrative hurdles to gain acceptance to the U of I on short notice, and if he can make a visit within the next week to get a feel for the place, the Illini might have a chance with this intelligent and well-spoken young man.

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