The first scholarship offers for Jordan Watkins began rolling in more than a year ago when he was still a sophomore at Woodward Academy. But one he’s always hoped for didn’t come until this week.
The University of Georgia offered Watkins a scholarship on Tuesday via an avalanche of letters in his mailbox from multiple coaches. The Bulldogs’ invitation was No. 28 of what is now 29 opportunities (Florida followed suit Tuesday night).
But if Watkins is annoyed about having to wait on UGA, he isn’t showing it.
“I don’t question them at all,” Watkins said of fielding 27 offers before Georgia’s finally came. “I’m sure they’re trying to make sure they offer the right person nowadays. When I say that, I mean with a great academic and athletic background. So I had no problem waiting.”
Watkins certainly fills the bill both athletically and academically. At 6-foot-5, 265 pounds, the defensive tackle is considered among the top prospects in the state for 2012. I included him among my “Tentative Top 10“ recruits for 2012 and he was named second-team Class AAA All-State after recording 61 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss and six sacks for the Eagles (10-2) last season.
Watkins’ academic numbers are just as impressive. He sports a 3.7 grade-point average while taking college preparatory classes at the prestigious Atlanta private school.
“It’s a huge plus,” Watkins said of his academic success.
Georgia tends to be one of the more deliberate programs around when it comes to dispensing scholarship offers, especially when it comes to in-state prospects. Generally the Bulldogs don’t distribute them in earnest until this time of year, about 10 or 11 months before the next national signing period. They are approaching 50 offer extensions at this point, according to Scout.com’s prospects database.
While Watkins is just getting his offer now, he said Georgia has been recruiting him for a long time and he has a well-established relationship with the coaching staff, including head coach Mark Richt.
“I knew they liked me,” he said. “But them offering feels great and is a huge blessing. I’d definitely considering going there. It’s a great school for broadcast journalism and communications, which are the two majors I’m considering.”
But for Watkins, there are no bad options. Georgia Tech, a school he grew up following closely, offered him last fall. He has opportunities at great academic institutions such as Duke, Notre Dame, Stanford and Vanderbilt. And he has offers traditional football powers such as Florida, LSU, Miami Oklahoma, Penn State and Tennessee.
Understandably, Watkins is a long way from narrowing his choices.
“I’ve been busy with basketball and school lately so I haven’t had time to [determine] favorites,” he said.
For Watkins, patience is also a strongsuit.
By Chip Towers, The College Recruiting Blog