Vols in Hunt for Shrine MVP

Defensive end/linebacker Dekoda Watson is one of the fastest rising prospects in the South, and we're not talking about South Dakota.

Dekoda Watson Profile

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound native of South Aiken, S.C., has gone from hardly noticed to hotly pursued by major football powers throughout the South following his showing at last month's Carolina Shrine Bowl.

At the end of November Watson only held scholarship offers from North Carolina and Kentucky. However, he has since added offers from Florida State, Tennessee, South Carolina and Virginia Tech among others. Those offers came flooding in following his MVP outing in the Shrine Bowl

"I was overwhelmed," Watson told Spencer Cagle of VT Insider. "I really enjoyed playing that day – I can't say about the week, but it was a great day. I didn't even start, but I'm glad [I did so well] – getting MVP showed my talent and that I can play at this level and perform at that level with these players."

"It's skyrocketed," Watson said of the recruiting process. "After the Shrine Bowl it went so fast. I'm still trying to get into it and fit in [with the process.] I don't know how to explain it. Everything is going so fast."

Dekoda Watson took his first official visit last weekend to South Carolina. He visits the Tar Heels this weekend before closing out his dance card with official visits to Tennessee and Virginia Tech. The Seminoles' offer, which came in last week may alter Watson's current schedule.

If college coaches had paid closer attention they could have avoided the late rush for Watson's services. As a junior, had 102 tackles from his defensive end post along with 18 sacks and 29 stops for losses.

Then last spring Watson had an impressive combine at Durham, N.C. as he ran a time of 4.75 and recorded a 37-inch vertical. As a senior, he compiled 124 tackles, 11 sacks, 32 hurries, 23 tackles for loss, blocked a kick and scored a pair of defensive TDs, but it was during the Shrine Bowl that scouts got to see for themselves that he has gotten bigger and faster.

Watson, who is particularly explosive off the ball, could play either linebacker or defensive end in college, but his best position may be as a rush linebacker, who can operate from the edge of space and stalk quarterbacks from sideline to sideline.

Expect this three-star prospect's No. 50 national ranking to skyrocket, too

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