As much as any recruit you’ll find, Watts Dantzler thoroughly enjoyed the recruiting process. The 6-foot-7, 330-pound offensive tackle from Dalton has taken every trip he could and listened with an open mind to every pitch from the 30 or so schools that have come calling.
But all good things must come to an end, as they say. And as the recruiting picture became ever more clear in his mind, Dantzler began to realize to continue prolonging the inevitable would be wasting everybody’s time.
That Nov. 16th date — his birthday — that Dantzler had long ago circled as a decision date suddenly looked very far away. Then he noticed June 20th — Fathers Day 2010 — fast approaching. He knew immediately what he needed to do.
“I was kind of of getting tired of the recruiting stuff so I started thinking about moving it up a little bit,” explained Dantzler, who said he will choose Sunday between Auburn and Georgia. “Some things changed with the schools I was looking at and Fathers Day was just around the corner, so it just seemed like a good time to do it. Fathers Day definitely is way to honor my Dad and his memory.”
Dantzler’s father, Danny Dantzler, passed away 16 months ago after a long battle with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Danny Dantzler also played offensive tackle in college, and he lived long enough to see his son was going to be hevily recruited.
Having once been a prospect himself, Danny Dantzler encouraged his son to embrace the recruiting process and enjoy it. Go and see and do just as much as you possibly can, he advised his son.
And Watts has obliged that suggestion.
He has taken pretty much every trip offered. He has gotten to know coaches and fellow recruits from all over the South and beyond as he visited campuses, attended games and participated in camps dozens of times the last two years.
“He definitely does play a big role in [the recruiting process],” Watts said of his father earlier this year. “He knew my freshman year, when I first started to get some interest, that I’d be a pretty big prospect. So we talked about it. He said he wanted me to do what was best for me.”
Danny Dantzler, of course, ended up signing with Georgia. He lettered there from 1971-73 and married Watts’ mother while they were still in school.But the notion that it has always been a slam dunk for the Bulldogs is simply not true.
Turns out, Watts is even more like his father than some might think.
“He really liked Auburn,” Watts said of his dad. “That was his final two, Georgia and Auburn. I like Auburn, too, so that’s pretty cool.”
Now, Dantzler said, the wooing ends. Recruiting has been a blast but he has gotten to the point where he has seen enough and knows with certainty where it is he wants to go. Having attended camps at Auburn and Georgia in the last two weekends, respectively, it’s time to make the call.
“It’s definitely been a day I’ve been looking forward to,” Dantzler said in an interview Thursday night. “I’ll be glad once its over. I’m a little bit nervous about giving my speech. But it should be fun. I’m looking forward to it.”
Dantzler’s announcement will be at 4 p.m. in the Dalton High School commons he first walked into with his father four years ago to sign up for football. He was asked what specific plans he had, if any.
“I’ve kind of decided how I’m going to do it,” Dantzler said. “I haven’t finished my speech yet but I should soon. There’s a couple of things that should be a little funny. It should be good.”
Something tells me it may be even more than that.
Happy Father’s Day weekend!