REWIND: DT was lifelong Tech fan, almost picked UGA

This longtime Georgia Tech fan signed with Stanford over UGA (Photo courtesy of Woodward Academy's Marci Mitchell)

This longtime Georgia Tech fan signed with Stanford over UGA (Photo courtesy of Woodward Academy's Marci Mitchell)

Jordan Watkins had an interesting recruiting journey: He grew up a Georgia Tech fan, listed UGA as a co-finalist, and ended up signing with Stanford.

The 6-foot-5, 280-pound defensive tackle from Woodward Academy will report to Stanford on June 21. He reflected on his recruiting journey with the AJC:

What was the most creative thing a college did to get your attention? “I remember the first day I ever got a hand-written letter from Georgia Tech. Pretty much everyone on the defensive staff, along with Coach [Paul] Johnson, sent a hand-written letter and that was pretty neat.”

UGA was your runner-up. What could they have done better? “I think the only thing they could’ve done better was to keep me away from Stanford because there was definitely nothing that was a knock against Georgia. When I went on my visit to Stanford last July, I fell in love with everything about the place. I tried to delay the whole decision-making process until after football season, but I pretty much knew after that visit that Stanford was No. 1 [and committed in September].”

What was the biggest rumor about you that wasn’t true? “It wasn’t necessarily a rumor. But I think a lot of people thought the main reason I chose Stanford over Georgia was because Coach [Mark] Richt was on the hot seat – and that wasn’t the case at all. And I apologize if there was anything I said if I made that appear to be so. It was really just because I had fallen in love with Stanford.”

Which coach was hardest to inform you were signing with Stanford? “Coach Richt. I called him that morning before I committed and told him. I thanked him for everything he did for me recruiting-wise. That was the hardest call because they had been in there with me for so long and it was pretty close between Stanford and Georgia. And the fact is: If Stanford hadn’t recruited me, I’d be a Bulldog now. I guess that’s what made it so hard.”

What was the funniest thing that happened on a recruiting trip? “At the University of Miami, they were showing us around the school and the assistant coaches started talking about who can still dunk and who can’t. One of them got a little medicine ball and went to the gym. He tried to dunk and I got a kick out of it. He didn’t get the dunk down.”

In 11 years as UGA's coach, Mark Richt has never (AJC)

UGA's Mark Richt was tough to tell "no" for a recruit (AJC)

Was the your biggest secret during the recruiting process? “For the longest time, people didn’t know how much I didn’t really like Georgia [at the beginning]. Early on, I was a huge Georgia Tech fan. I remember I saw [UGA recruiting coordinator] Rodney Garner at our practice and I was like ‘Georgia is here, but there’s no way I’m going to go there.’ But the more I really watched Georgia and talked to the coaches, I actually loved it … Even all of my friends were teasing me up [to when I announced], saying ‘There’s no way you’ll go to Georgia, you’ve been a Georgia Tech fan too long.’ I surprised a lot of people that knew me with how interested I was in Georgia.”

Which college disappointed you the most? “I guess it was Florida [telling me I didn’t have a scholarship offer any longer]. But with all these schools all over the country, I’m sure they have a decent amount of players they offer at each position just in case this player goes here and that person goes there. I guess in my case, somebody said they wanted to go to the University of Florida before I did, so they got that spot. No hard feelings for Florida. I still wish them the best … I don’t know if I can say this was a disappointment, but USC sent me a letter and gave me a number to call. I called the coach and told him who I was and where I was from. The first thing he said was ‘Are you a coach or a player?’ I was thinking ‘OK.’ I thought that was interesting.”

Did any other school say anything wrong to turn you off? “Not really, but I would have to say I was really skeptical about any school that was under NCAA allegations or had been hit with something. I remember thinking about Auburn with the Cam Newton rumors. I was like ‘Auburn hasn’t really been found guilty of anything with Cam, and there’s a good chance they may not. But what if they do? Then that’s going to affect me when I’m there.’ That kind of affected my decision with Auburn but it wasn’t the whole thing. It was kind of like schools that were facing allegations, places like Ohio State and Miami … if I am really doubting and I don’t know what’s going to happen, then I might as well take them off my list.”

Which non-Stanford coach was the nicest? “That was almost have to be a tie, and it’s almost funny that these two would be tied together – Georgia and Georgia Tech with Coach Richt and Coach Johnson. I remember when we called Coach Johnson and told him how grateful I was to be recruited by them. The main reason I didn’t go there is because they didn’t have journalism. He understood. Of course, he was disappointed. He let me know that if anything changed, please feel free to call. You know, calling a head coach and telling them you’re no longer interested in their school was pretty nerve-wracking for me. Coach Richt was cool about it, too. I’m pretty sure he was disappointed but he didn’t let me see it. He said pretty much said the same things as Coach Johnson, to call if anything changed and wished me luck. Later, Coach Richt was the guest speaker at the Macon Touchdown Club when I was receiving an award. He was smiling at me, he shook my hand and we had a little small talk. It was great to see that.”

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92 comments Add your comment

Joe

May 22nd, 2012
12:09 am

As a lifelong UGA fan and alum, I would have gone to Stanford if I had had the grades and football talent. Congrats kid and good luck!

ALABAMA FOOTBALL

May 22nd, 2012
12:50 am

WHY IS THERE NO SABAN OR ALABAMA REFERENCE IN THIS ARTICLE?

I CAN’T BELIEVE IT! LMAO.

ROLL TIDE!

RedandBlackDAWG

May 22nd, 2012
1:09 am

We may not have gotten him, but it did show that UGA was in the hunt and from what this young man says, it sounds like it was most likely because of CMR. I wish the kid good luck at Stanford because it is one of the top colleges in the country for an education. I think this young man would be successful, no matter where he went in life.

Bad Dawg

May 22nd, 2012
1:42 am

He is a smart kid and the Stanford education will allow him to go far in life. Congrats

1eyedJack

May 22nd, 2012
6:21 am

This is the kind of kid we need to close on, but, who can argue against Stanford? At least we won’t have to face him.

collegeballfan

May 22nd, 2012
6:50 am

If one has the opportunity to attend Stanford or UGA, Stanford is the correct decision.

Apparently GT was out from day one due to the Journalism major. That is what has always hurt GT, the limited curriculum.

bucket

May 22nd, 2012
6:54 am

Great article about a good kid. I hate that UGA didn’t get him, but hearing the story from Watkins own mouth provides a different perspective that is lacking from the speculation that takes place on recruiting blogs.

bucket

May 22nd, 2012
7:01 am

@1eyedJack – how did your treatment go?

JB

May 22nd, 2012
7:03 am

Saban already had 17 commits just at DE. He couldn’t figure where he fit in at Bama. Out of all the 74 commits to Bama last year, he met most of them, and actually rode the bus back to Atlanta with the 36 that didn’t get to stay at Bama once they arrived. He still has his gray T shirt from Bama though as a memory.

Game Changer

May 22nd, 2012
7:08 am

@MC

Just who mentioned Auburn and Cam Newton as an issue to this kid?

bitter "spoiled recruit

May 22nd, 2012
7:19 am

See ya soon, just like jarvis jones, you too will get home sick and we all here will hold room for you jordan—-best of luck, and dont even think of the medical mary jane stuff in callie

—————-go dawgs—see ya in red and black—with silver trim one day

Game Changer

May 22nd, 2012
7:28 am

bitter please: comparing Stanford to USC, what ignorance

SimpleDawg

May 22nd, 2012
7:47 am

Sorry UGA didn’t land this kid. Sounds like a mature, serious young man.

Best wishes for much success and happiness at Stanford.

A person SMART enough to know......

May 22nd, 2012
8:31 am

Glad he is happy.

Guy ask Schultz, Bradley & MC how much money they make. I would chose to Write Novels over magazines and newspapers.

I hope he meant Broadcast Journalism to be on ESPN or the local TV News Sports caster.

Whiskey Breath

May 22nd, 2012
8:33 am

No love for Tech, but he probably should have signed with them. Just about all the kids that go to the west coast, generally over time come back. Tech could have provided the big name academics he was looking for. Journalism? He might want to rethink that major.

Game Changer

May 22nd, 2012
8:41 am

@ WBreath

Very true statement

Thomas Brown

May 22nd, 2012
8:52 am

Won/Lost Record is NOT a STAT. It is called your Won/Lost Record. People only notice the teams you beat, if they are teams who ACHIEVED a top 25 poll. Playing schedules worse than Boise State while Boise State beats you and others who are better wins than your “best” wins of 2 of the top 48 teams in won/loss at 8-5 GEORGIA TEK and Auburn, neither achieving any top 25 poll and neither with 10-win seasons like 27 others who did achieve 10-win or even 9-win seasons of which there are 36 of the 9-win seasons’ teams, does NOT give you an acceptable

RECORD

Won/Lost Record

for the # 11 football program all-time in wins.

How many points the defense did or did not give up, or the offense scored (leaving out Special Teams still without a coach and still # 80 special teams nationally) are STATS.

Another stat is that Georgia tek does NOT sign nor compete for the in-state talent in this state.

You can have all the EXCUSES you want for STATS.

There is no excuse for the # 11 football program in wins to be # 6 of just 2012 SEC teams in WON/LOST RECORD after 2005 when we last won The SEC Championship Game, which was by the way eight (8) seasons ago now this up-coming 2012 season.

It is taking a TOLL on our RECRUITING here at UGA with our average # of stars for 2013 commitments for 19 commitments now listed as not even in the top 25 best in the nation at just 3.25 stars down there with teams such as Georgia tek and Northwestern, not exactly UGA.

bucket

May 22nd, 2012
9:16 am

Jordan Watkin’s decision had nothing to do with UGA’s Won/LOSS record. Read the freaking article! UGA came completely out of left field and had a chance to land a player that had no intentions of signing with UGA when the process began. The young man had a chance to attend one of the most prestigous academic institutions in the world. That should be celebrated and not used as another opportunity to bash UGA or GTech.

Brthrite

May 22nd, 2012
9:18 am

WB: Sorry, but no way do the academics at Tech compare with Stanford!

Game Changer

May 22nd, 2012
9:20 am

@TBrown

Your stats speak volumes but I am not totally on board with the recruiting issue and stars. I dont care about stars or rankings, espn, rivals, 24/7 etc. rank for reading material. As I posted before, Malik Greaves (sp) safety from jacksonville commited to Vandy is as good a safety as any in the 2013 class and yes that includes Tray Matthews and all others, he is rated 3 star.

The kid from Buford is a definite center and will not be able to play any other position without major strides. We do not have a quality center at this time and alot of questions surround whether David Andrews will be capable or not, you will see one or two members of Andrews family start blasting my post here to protect their boy and talk how Cordiello will play guard, not gonna happen.

Anyway, I am glad both Andrews and Cordiello are signed and members of the UGA football teams. They will bring the character and image that I want to see in our football players and the fact they both commited early enough to know the WHAT TO BE AT UGA AND PLAY FOR UGA. I am sick o the star talk etc. I WANT KIDS WITH ACADEMICS, CHARACTER, IMAGE AND WANT TO PLAY FOR UGA MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE!!! I do not want a player that wants to play for Mark Richt or a certain coach, I WANT THEM TO WANT TO PLAY FOR UGA FIRST AND FOREMOST.

Thomas Brown

May 22nd, 2012
9:20 am

Any recruit considering UGA considers the fact that UGA has not beat the top teams. You can not alter this by stating it isn’t a factor. Sure it is.

Brthrite

May 22nd, 2012
9:21 am

Thomas Brown: Brain-dead jock recruiting aside, both UGA and Tech should be THRILLED to be recruiting the same caliber of student as Northwestern!

G-Dawg

May 22nd, 2012
9:24 am

Players should take note, dont social biases affect your personal outlook about a program you have no familiarity. Take the time to research schools and staff..and base your opinion on that. Not what others say.

Not a DT

May 22nd, 2012
9:26 am

He appears to be a smart kid, a nice kid but he is NO DT. His last high school game vs Pius he was a non factor maybe 2 tackles vs the 170-180 lb guards and centers from Pius. What a let down ! Please he is no DT. Look for him to play OL at the next level. With his skill set he will do well at RT.

1eyedJack

May 22nd, 2012
9:28 am

bucket, thanks for asking. The worst part was the needles. Now, this being the first treatments, the side affects thus far are minimal. The only thing noticable was that I was whipped after 8 hours at the hospital and my lips are a little numb. Got my 2nd radiation this morning. In and out in 30 minutes.

I’d like to thank everybody who responded yesterday with their thoughts and prayers and I’d like to apologize to Michael for kinda highjacking his blog.

wes

May 22nd, 2012
9:29 am

@Brthrite…

What good is a Journalism major gonna do for anyone? Stanford has a crazy amount of majors for their athletes to choose from….Georgia Tech does not.

The Board of Regents is not looking out for better educating the students in the great state of Georgia. They are looking out for the great state of UGA football. They decided to gift-wrap an Engineering Degree to the University of Georgia DURING A RECESSION. Why are our tax dollars going to something that is clearly not needed?

It’s the UGA political machine at the BOR. Anyone that cannot see how they works is about as sharp as a bowling ball.

Game Changer

May 22nd, 2012
9:31 am

Ga Tech is a top 10 World Class Education as is Stanford.

GA Tech graduates enter the work place quicker and at higher salaries than those from Stanford. Georgia Tech graduates actually PRODUCE INDUSTRIAL RESULTS AND MAKE THINGS. Stanford produces students who still money from others working for the likes of Bain Capital and Wall Street. I will take a GA TECH graduate over a Stanford graduate every day of the week.

A person SMART enough to know......

May 22nd, 2012
9:32 am

Brthrite you are right Tech is higher ranked than Stanford in some of the Majors both schools offer. Cal Poly is Better than both Tech and Stanford but they don’t play football. Tech is a mostly Engineering and Stanford has a full Liberal Arts offering.

PR

May 22nd, 2012
9:32 am

Sounds like a great kid. Would have loved to have him in Athens, but can’t blame him. Good luck to him and Go Dawgs!

1eyedJack

May 22nd, 2012
9:33 am

Game Changer
“The kid from Buford is a definite center and will not be able to play any other position without major strides.”

All generalizations are false, including this one. A redshirt year in the weight room and a year at the training table will have him ready to compete.

Whether he plays center or guard may hinge upon whether we can land Brandon Kublanow. He could play center or guard also.

RTR22

May 22nd, 2012
9:35 am

JB did you keep your black Jawja T shirt from the BEATDOWN between the hedges in 2008? That is a fact your silly post from earlier not so much with anything factual. Jawja fb the greatest winners in the summer months and the biggest disappointments come the turning of the leaves. Gimmicks never win. Roll Tide

Clear Enough

May 22nd, 2012
9:35 am

@Thomas Brown “Any recruit considering UGA considers the fact that UGA has not beat the top teams. ”

Any one reading this blog considers the fact that the blogger Thomas Brown is a hate filled, ignorant fool.

Brthrite

May 22nd, 2012
9:36 am

Wes: Regardless of the degree major, a degree from Stanford will open many more doors than a degree from Tech. If you have no imagination and just want to march down a boring pre-determined track without having to do too much outside the box thinking so you can become a brick in the wall at some engineering or law firm, Tech is fine. If you want to make areal difference in the world and stretch yourself to the limits of your creativeness and abilities, Stanford would present MANY more opportunities.

bucket

May 22nd, 2012
9:36 am

How did Northwestern enter this discussion?

Clear Enough

May 22nd, 2012
9:37 am

@RTR22 “JB did you keep your black Jawja T shirt from the BEATDOWN between the hedges in 2008″

Don’t know about JB but I remember the score from the BEATDOWN in Tuscaloosa in 2007? Do you?

A person SMART enough to know......

May 22nd, 2012
9:39 am

wes…the best was when some UGa students were asked about Engineering at UGa over Tech the students replied. I would rather go to UGa. I can have a social life and not just go to class and spend all my time doing Lab work. AHHAHAHA. If you want to be an Engineer you have to do the Lab work not matter what Engineering school you choose. Great I want a UGa engineer to build something for me. Was he/she Drunk and failed the class on Statics or Material tinsel strength lab.

Game Changer

May 22nd, 2012
9:44 am

@Brite

You are so wrong about open doors with degrees. A GA TECH degree is head and sholders over Stanford. Keep thinking otherwise though.

You know the driverless car that was just presented: That’s Right – GA TECH played huge part of development.

GA TECH accepts public students into the Classes, Stanford hands picks and scholarships every student. GA TECH beats STANFORD even on an uneven playing field.

RxDawg

May 22nd, 2012
9:47 am

Great interview. This guy was the biggest miss for us last year in my opinion. I really tend to love the guys that are great on and off the field. Good luck out west young man.

Thomas Brown

May 22nd, 2012
9:51 am

Stars are important since it is clear that both Scout.com and Rivals are paid millions for their opinions. When your 2 best commitments are at QB and TB both of which you are loaded with 5 of the top players nationally already at both positions, and 1 of those might be iffy at TB because of said depth and the other ought to be at QB for a guy who hasn’t thrown passes looking to join our pass-happy offense which better not be 2012 with our depth at TB, you have to sort the list of their top recruiting classes by average number of stars. We have only 76 remaining of our last 109 signed by Mark Richt. We should have signed 9 more 2012. We could use them, for example, in game 2 vs Mizzou. If we load up on numbers and recruit recruits ranked down there with Northwestern and Georgia tek, which is where we are at 3.25 stars, we have watered-down our 1 Strength (besides these cupcake schedules especially of no worthy home game at all 2012 – like 2011 where we beat no team making any top 25 even.) Our Strength has been RECRUITING.

When your recruits are ranked at Northwestern’s average recruit or Georgia tek’s average recruit, which is where we are ranked this morning for 2013 by Scout.com, when you already have only 1 of the last 33 SEC wins over teams achieving any top 10 as we’ve done when what we have been doing is sending the MOST recruits to the NFL, how are we supposed to beat the 2 teams achieving top 10 Alabama just beat to win the BCS NC ? Or, the 3 Auburn beat the year before for their NC ? Or, the 3 Alabama beat before that for their NC ? Or, the 2 Florida beat NC before that ? Or, the 2 LSU beat before that NC ? Or, the 3 teams achieving top 10 Florida beat to win their NC before that ? All this time, instead, with all this 2nd best recruiting in the nation we’ve had all these years and MOST NFL DRAFTED recruits, has us instead by direct contrast 1 win these current 8 seasons now 2012 season over a team achieving top 10.

You better pay attention to the # of stars our commitments are, or we will fill up with 25 plus the 9 short we are now (or maybe less the 3 walk-ons given 1) of Northwestern or Georgia tek average recruits and will NEVER beat teams achieving top 10.

I assure you there are 25 other programs doing a BETTER job of commitments 2013 by average rank of the recruits.

Flawed, yes, but it is still the best measure possible, of how we’re doing in getting the talent that has put us # 1 in NFL Draft Picks. With all that, we have attrition of 33 of them and have but 1 of the 33 wins SEC teams have won over teams achieving top 10 after 2005.

We better not water-down our average recruit, just to finally sign the 9 extra NEXT YEAR we should’ve signed LAST YEAR.

A person SMART enough to know......

May 22nd, 2012
9:53 am

Thomas Brown…………please go get LAID. I know you have to wait to marry WnE this Thanksgiving but you two need to release your tensions in bed together.

Brthrite

May 22nd, 2012
9:54 am

A person SMART enough to know……Even in the engineering rankings, Stanford is ranked #1 in Mechanical and Computer Engineering, and Tech could only manage to tie Stanford in Civil engineering. So, Stanford is better even in the narrow range of Tech’s strength, and Tech is not even in the discussion in the other 90% of the things that make up a REAL university education. And that is just the academic part. Socially and athletically there is no comparison, so don’t embarrass yourself further by mentioning Tech in the same discussion as Stanford.

Dawg Haus

May 22nd, 2012
9:56 am

Seems like a good kid. Best of luck out there!

Brthrite

May 22nd, 2012
9:59 am

Game Changer: OMG! You have been drinking WAY too much yellow cool-ade! ANY objective observer would tell you that Stanford trumps Tech in nearly every measure, even in engineering, and Tech is not even mentioned in the same conversation in the non-engineering majors. For God’s sake, even has-been Emory beats Tech in many ranking categories these days, and it has not been a “great” university in over a decade.

1eyedJack

May 22nd, 2012
10:04 am

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”
Albert Einstein

Any place that anyone can learn something useful from someone with experience is an educational institution. The problem with most institutions of higher learning is that the “professional” educators outnumber the experienced educators.

A person SMART enough to know......

May 22nd, 2012
10:20 am

Brthrite………..What are the top 10 Computer Engineering Colleges? WOW Stanford really Blew TECH away.

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology–Cambridge, MA
2. University of California–Berkeley, CA
3. University of Illinois–Champaign, IL
4. Carnegie Mellon University–Pittsburgh, PA
5. Stanford University–Stanford, CA
6. Georgia Institute of Technology–Atlanta, GA
7. University of Michigan–Ann Arbor, MI
8. University of Texas–Austin, TX
9. California Institute of Technology–Pasadena, CA
10. Cornell University–Ithaca, NY

Read more: Top Ten Computer Engineering Colleges | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/list_6582530_top-ten-computer-engineering-colleges.html#ixzz1vbm8CXMj

reeebok

May 22nd, 2012
10:22 am

Sorry my Yellow Jackets didn’t sign thim, but I’m glad we won’t have to face him for 4-5 years vs. UGA. It sounds as though both of the local head coaches acquitted themselves well. Good luck to the young man!

A person SMART enough to know......

May 22nd, 2012
10:24 am

#1 University of California–Berkeley
Berkeley, CA

4.6 In-state, full-time: $11,220 per year, Out-of-state, full-time: $26,322 per year 1,882
Locked
Locked
Locked
Locked
#1 University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign
Urbana, IL

4.6 In-state, full-time: $15,732 per year, Out-of-state, full-time: $28,998 per year 2,773
Locked
Locked
Locked
Locked
#3 Georgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta, GA

4.4 In-state, full-time: $9,986 per year, Out-of-state, full-time: $26,860 per year 4,624
Locked
Locked
Locked
Locked
#3 Stanford University
Stanford, CA

4.4 Full-time: $42,660 per year 3,564

A person SMART enough to know......

May 22nd, 2012
10:28 am

Mechanical Engineering
MIT
Stanford
Cal Berkeley
Cal Poly
Michigan
TECH

4 of those play Football.

Rick James

May 22nd, 2012
10:29 am

Wish he would have signed with Tech or Georgia,such maturity,Best of luck.

Game Changer

May 22nd, 2012
10:31 am

Stanford vs GA TECH

Stanford is a Liberal Arts first and foremost: a collection of Hodge Podge studies which does not facilatate a direct path into the business world of jobs. Being that Stanford is a Hodge Podge of study, it takes students much longer periods to gain employment and equal income at job positions. This is a known fact regardless of what Stanford is listed regarding engineering or any other school of higher learning.

If you are not sure what you want to be, then go to Stanford and get a Liberal Arts degree. Stanford is best degree of schooling for unknown commitment today. But if you know what you desire to be, Stanford is not the place to attend. It really is this simple.