Northwestern a favorite for Watkins

Dareian Watkins established a close relationship with Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald; the primary reason why he has the Wildcats tabbed as an early favorite in his recruitment. PurpleWildcats provides the latest with the talented two-way standout.

As Dareian Watkins traveled to Evanston for an unofficial visit, he didn't know much about Northwestern and its head coach. That changed when the junior athlete arrived on campus.

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.

"Ohio State and Wisconsin are two schools that I will be able to include soon," Watkins added.

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."

Chris Emma has covered recruiting, college athletics and professional baseball for FOX Sports Next since 2009. Emma covered the Nebraska Cornhuskers for Big Red Report, and currently covers the Northwestern Wildcats. He resides on Chicago's north side.
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