RECRUITING: Florida OL a sleeper no more

Gigantic Lakeland, Fla. offensive lineman Jason Watkins talks about his interest in Oklahoma.


You don't want to call Watkins a sleeper, because how can a guy this big be a sleeper? However, his recent display of athletic ability, coupled with his size has now earned Watkins some national exposure.

"I would say I am a more athletic player than just a big guy," said Watkins. "I don't think I will ever play anybody in high school that is my size. We have a guy on our own team that is my height, but is a lot thinner than me. I like to run counters and pull on plays, because I can show off my athletic ability on those plays."

Watkins moved from the state of Louisiana to Florida in time for his sophomore year. In Louisiana, Watkins only played basketball and never played football. Of course, that was a time before Watkins started to put on weight.

"I started to play football my 10th grade year and it was fun for me," said Watkins. "I saw all my friends were playing football in Florida and so I thought I would give it a try. I caught on real fast. I played tight end and that was natural, because I was always using my hands to catch the ball. My junior year I moved to offensive tackle, but I still played some at tight end. This year I am still playing both positions."

Watkins can bench 375 pounds, squats 450 and he still hoops as the starting center averaging 13 points and 17 rebounds per contest. Watkins went to the LSU and Florida summer camps, and he has been offered by at least 25 schools.

"I have narrowed my choices down to a top seven," said Watkins. "I like Florida, LSU, Oklahoma, Georgia, Duke, Auburn and Michigan State. I am not leaning to any school at this point, but I will pick my school out of those seven."

We asked Watkins to talk about his top two or three.

"This past Friday Coach (Kevin) Wilson came to my game and I was real impressed about that," said Watkins. "I really like Oklahoma because of their winning tradition, and each year they come back with better and better teams. Oklahoma also may lose one of their starting offensive tackles and the other starter is a junior. I don't think they have a lot of depth at offensive tackle, so I might be able to step in right away and find a spot. I don't mind redshirting, but if the opportunity is there I would gladly step up and play as a freshman.

"LSU is high on my list, because my family still lives there. My mom is still there and they had a coach that came to see me today. I moved to Florida with my dad, but almost all of my family is still in Louisiana. I am trying to stay open-minded about it, but I will have to admit that LSU is high on my list."

Watkins has qualified.

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