Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings, a rundown of everything happening in Alabama Crimson Tide recruiting with Chris Kirschner. In this edition, we talk the latest with one of Alabama’s top wide receiver targets.
Justin Watkins making his commitment this week
ORLANDO, Fla. — Justin Watkins was arguably the top wide receiver on Day 1 of practice at the Under Armour All-America Game. He was consistently making plays and finding his way open against some of the top defensive backs in the country.
There are lots of eyeballs on Watkins this week, as he’s expected to announce his commitment at the game on Thursday live on ESPN2. Watkins told SEC Country that he’s down to Alabama and LSU.
The only problem with his two choices is there may not be space for him at either school at this time. At Alabama, the Tide are also recruiting 4-star prospects Justyn Ross, Jaylen Waddle and Jacob Copeland at receiver. All of those guys have been higher on the board than Watkins.
LSU has room for one more receiver in its class, and Ja’Marr Chase is the team’s top target. According to SEC Country’s LSU recruiting reporter Sam Spiegelman, the Tigers are feeling confident in landing Chase.
Watkins, though, told SEC Country that he talks to Alabama about every other day, whether it’s to wide receivers coach Mike Locksley or offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. He also talks to Nick Saban, too.
“He told me he thinks I’m a great athlete and a good guy,” Watkins said. “He told me when I come in he wants me to pick the position I want, and if I pick the wrong position he’ll change it.”
The last part of his quote is important to note because unlike the other receivers Alabama is targeting, Watkins is the only one who could have the ability to play receiver or defensive back. That’s where he’s an intriguing prospect for the Tide because they need defensive backs badly in this class.
“I’ll play slot receiver or DB,” Watkins said. “It doesn’t matter to me. Wherever they need me, that’s where I’ll play.”
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The nation’s No. 21 wide receiver took an official visit to Tuscaloosa at the beginning of December. One source close to the Alabama program told SEC Country at the time that Watkins did have a committable offer. But, recruiting changes daily. It’s unclear now where Watkins stands.
If it is Alabama, Watkins said he had zero questions leaving Tuscaloosa after his official visit.
“They showed me everything,” Watkins said. “I like that I got a chance to go to Coach Saban’s house and have breakfast with him and get to know him. I really got to know the people down there that I’m going to be around.
“The players, you can tell there’s love there. You can tell Coach Saban really loves his players.”
Has he given any indication to Alabama or LSU on his upcoming decision?
“I haven’t. It’s going to be a surprise,” Watkins said.
He may want to rethink that because spots are limited at both schools and he may not have the luxury of a “surprise.” It wouldn’t surprise me to see Watkins hold off on announcing a decision on Thursday because there definitely seems to be uncertainty at both schools.
It’s also very possible that space opens up for Watkins at Alabama because the three receiver targets the team is after are all strongly considering other schools in addition to the Tide, with Ross still liking Clemson, Copeland flirting with Florida and Tennessee, and Waddle seeming like he’s leaning toward Texas A&M.
Watkins’ best move may be to wait it out until signing day.
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