Watkins a top target on the Florida Gators recruiting board

2018 athlete Justin Watkins (6-0, 160, Ocala, FL North Marion) is one of the top prospects on the Florida Gators recruiting board for 2018 and he visited campus on Friday.

This Watkins’ second visit to campus this spring, but this time he was able to watch a spring practice.

“It was cool to watch practice,” Watkins said. “They moved around a lot, they’re fast. I really went to watch Freddie [Swain] and he’s doing pretty well. He did real good yesterday [Friday] in practice.”

Watkins is very close with Gators receiver Freddie Swain and the receiver has told the 2018 athlete how Florida is once you sign.

“He just tells me that he’s getting treated good there,” he said of what Freddie Swain has told him about Florida. “He just said that you just have to work hard there and be ready to go.”

The 2018 athlete watched Florida a lot last year in person and he believes they’re a better team after watching them on Friday.

“They look better in practice, the quarterbacks look better actually,” Watkins said of Florida. “I liked the way they were practicing out there, they were moving around a lot.”

One thing that Watkins has been asking Florida is where the Gators want the athlete to play and he heard an answer he likes from Gators head coach Jim McElwain.

“Coach McElwain was really telling me that it doesn’t matter where I play,” he said. “They’re really recruiting me as an athlete right now, they’ve mentioned receiver to me some, but I really want to play defense.”

Tight ends coach Greg Nord doesn’t get talked about a lot in recruiting but Watkins says he has a good relationship with his area recruiter.

“I talk to Greg Nord and to Coach Mac from Florida,” Watkins said. “To be honest that is the best coaching staff that I’ve been around. They’re good to me. I like Nord, he’s cool. He has fun and jokes around, it’s all good to be honest.”

Both Nord and McElwain have been expressing a need for Watkins in Gainesville including the ability to play early.

“They’re telling me that I should be able to get on the field early,” he said. “As a defensive back I should be able to get on the field early but as a receiver I’m not sure because I’m not sure who will be there still.”

Two months ago Watkins backed off of an early pledge to LSU and he says that he’s taking his time now.

“Clemson, Florida State, Florida Alabama all stick out,” he said. “I will probably wait until the end of my junior year to make a decision. I’m going to take some time to decide.”

INSIDERS TAKE: Watkins says he plans to visit Florida again next week to watch a spring practice and to hang out with Freddie Swain. The 2018 athlete likes Florida a lot and the Gators are in good shape right now.

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Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.