14 days to kickoff: DB Jaylen Watkins

The University of Florida football team has had the benefit of recruiting within one of the most talented states in the country.

After starring down in Cape Coral, Gators defensive back Jaylen Watkins wanted to come to Florida and make his presence felt.

Find out what to expect out of this experienced athlete as the 2012 season approaches.


Jaylen Watkins was a two-way star at Cape Coral High School in Cape Coral, Fla. Not only was he one of the top defensive back prospects in the state, but he electrified audiences with his playmaking as a dual-threat quarterback.

As a senior in high school, Watkins racked up more than 2,500 total yards on offense while lining up at both the quarterback and wide receiver positions. However, his future was on defense and Watkins was considered a top-5 cornerback by Scout.com and participated in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. He committed to the Florida Gators in April 2009 and was a part of Florida’s 2010 signing class.

Watkins didn’t see much action as a freshman, playing primarily as a gunner on the punt coverage squad. However, in 2011 Watkins played in all 13 games and started the last six games of the season. He finished the year with 34 tackles and five pass breakups.

Player Evaluation

Watkins is a lean athlete, who won’t overwhelm you with his size. However, his athleticism allows him to do a lot on defense. His ball skills and vision are excellent and he has great speed to match it, so Watkins can cover a lot of the football field in a short amount of time.

In the secondary, Watkins is one of the better tacklers for the Gators and seems to hold an aggressive mentality during plays. Watkins is primarily a coverage corner who will be able to keep up with most receivers he faces.

What to Expect

Watkins got his first taste of significant playing time last season and didn’t disappoint. With Watkins being one of the older defensive backs on the Gators, his play last year should merit more significant playing time in 2012.

Most likely, Watkins will be starting for the Gators as one of the top three defensive backs for Florida. I would like to see Watkins really try to rip at the ball and cause more turnovers this season, which could turn into big plays for the defense with his athleticism. Plus, some continuity and familiarity with defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and the rest of the coaching staff should give Watkins more opportunities to maximize his potential.

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Drew is a senior at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala. When not at school, Drew resides in Lakeland, Fla. Ever since working on his high school yearbook, Drew has had an interest in pursuing a journalism career after college. In addition to being Editor-in-Chief of his school newspaper, The Samford Crimson, Drew has also been with Gator Country as an intern for one year. He enjoys the finer things in life like Tampa Bay Rays baseball and always making sure to make fun of the Atlanta Braves to Andrew Spivey’s face.