Could Rutgers land Fla. stars in combo deal?

Rutgers already offered South Fort Myers (Fla.) High four-star receiver Sammy Watkins, and is recruiting teammate Dallas Crawford, who plays safety. Both players earn high praise from their coach for their on- and off-field play and work ethic, and both talk about a desire to play together in college. Where does Rutgers fit in?

South Fort Myers (Fla.) receiver Sammy Watkins holds so many offers, he is losing count and having a hard time keeping them all straight.

But one crucial part of his recruitment are the offers his teammate, safety Dallas Crawford, holds. The latest came from Iowa.

"Iowa offered Dallas,'' South Fort Myers coach Grant Redhead said, "so Sammy has interest in Iowa.''

Rutgers is among the dozens to offer Watkins, and is recruiting Crawford. And both players are talking about being a package deal.

"If we get the chance, we're going to go to the same college,'' Crawford said. "We've been playing together since we were little, and wouldn't mind playing together in college.''

Watkins and Crawford are childhood friends, dating back to their early grade school days when they lived a short walk from one another.

They have maintained that close bond, and the talk of attending the same college is substantive. Although all the traditional national powers are recruiting Watkins, he said it isn't a slam dunk he will head to one of them.

"That's something I'm really thinking about,'' Watkins said. "I can see myself going to a lot of different schools.''

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Watkins caught 46 passes for 1,192 yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior. He clocked in at 4.39 seconds in the 40-yard dash, and is a strong student, Redhead said.

"He can go anywhere he wants,'' Redhead said. "The kid is phenomenal. He's got the strongest hands I've ever seen and he's got good height. I'll never coach anyone like him again, I bet.

"He's wide open right now. He's got easily 40 offers, and pretty much everybody in the top 25 in the nation. He like Miami, but he's not set on Miami.''

Again, it goes back to Crawford, who is 5-foot-10, 175 pounds.

"(Watkins) is interested in schools that are interested in him and Dallas,'' Redhead said. "They're both great players, and they kind of like the idea of going to college together. They work well together, even though they're going to be on different sides of the ball.''

Dallas Crawford
South Florida and Purdue also offered Crawford, who is also close to being offered by other BCS schools.

"Michigan's (offer) is on (coach Rich) Rodriguez's desk,'' Redhead said. "I expect one from West Virginia. Dallas is a major Division I prospect. Rutgers has offered Sammy. They have not offered Dallas, but they really like him.

"If you want great football players, you offer this kid because he's a great football player, and he will be one at the next level. He's that type of kid. His dad is a sheriff and his mom teaches.''

Crawford had 10 interceptions as a junior, and returned four for touchdowns. He also broke on nine passes.

Offensively, Crawford played quarterback and threw for 2,629 yards and 25 touchdowns. He also ran for 442 yards and nine scores.

And, to top it off, he has a 3.3 grade point average, with AP courses, and already scored a 21 on his ACT.

"He's a dynamic player,'' Redhead said. "He makes us go. If he was 6-1, he'd be like Sammy. He's 5-10, and he's a hitter. He knocked two kids unconscious in games this season. He's a missile.''

Crawford admits he is frustrated with the process, but believes it will work itself out.

"Since I played quarterback in high school, some think that's what I want to play at the next level, but that's not the case,'' he said. "Being 5-10, they try to get the taller person first, then they come back down.''

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