Watkins, a three-star standout from Galion (OH) High School, was immediately greeted by Pat Fitzgerald prior to watching Northwestern's win over Vanderbilt in September. Watkins was told to contact Fitzgerald each week. Since the encounter, the two have built a strong relationship.
"Everybody respects him and he is a great football coach," Watkins said of Fitzgerald. "He came to my school and everybody liked him. Northwestern is one of my favorites and I don't see that changing."
While Watkins doesn't have a formal list of favorites, Northwestern is one school that has emerged toward the top of his list, along with Illinois and Indiana. He holds offers from each of those schools, plus Akron, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Ohio, Purdue, and Toledo.
Watkins has put his college tour on hold for the time being, electing to spend some time at home relaxing. Just a junior, he has plenty of travels ahead. He is vying to visit Northwestern during the spring.
While Watkins is still working to assemble a full list of favorites, he knows what to find in the perfect place.
"It's a combination," he said, "of winning, playing time and college environment—on and off the field."