Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings, a rundown of everything happening in Alabama Crimson Tide recruiting with Chris Kirschner. Today, we talk the latest with one of Alabama’s top slot wide receiver targets.
Justin Watkins down to Alabama, LSU and Florida
Justin Watkins got the full experience of what it’s like to visit Alabama a few weeks ago when he was in Tuscaloosa for the Champions Cookout. He had visited Alabama before for a 7-on-7 tournament, but he didn’t get to see much of the school on that trip.
Watkins, a 4-star slot receiver from East Ridge High School (Clermont, Fla.), left that visit with all of the information he needs about the school.
“Honestly, I didn’t know anything about it before going,” Watkins told SEC Country. “There’s no other place to be than Alabama. It’s what you want to see and where you want to be at. You get the best training. You get the best coaching. You get the best technology. All of that.”
While that quote sure seems like the top-5o prospect is favoring the Crimson Tide at this point, Watkins said he doesn’t have a top school at the moment. He is, however, down to Alabama, Florida and LSU. A decision isn’t coming until National Signing Day, or shortly before. Watkins has de-committed from three schools (Florida State, LSU and Texas) and he says he wants to take his recruitment slowly now.
He broke down why he would choose each school as of today.
- On Alabama: “The reason I would choose Alabama is because of the coaching staff. They have the best coaches. Nick Saban would really prepare me for the league and build me into a man. I feel like I could develop into a young man faster there.”
- On Florida: “Florida was a school I grew up liking. It’s really close to my family. It would be a place close to my family where they could come to almost every single game.”
- On LSU: “Before I committed there, I had never been there until I went a few weeks ago. When I went there, it just felt like a family. I like the coaching staff a lot. The thing I like about LSU is when I de-committed, they always told me they would remain on me. They never stopped recruiting me.”
Watkins said Florida isn’t coming after him too strongly. That’s likely because the Gators have commitments from five receivers and they’re the favorites to land one of the fastest recruits in the country in Anthony Schwartz. This is shaping up to be an Alabama-LSU race.
“My closest relationships are with the LSU staff,” he added, “but Alabama is pushing me the hardest.”
Alabama is very high on Watkins and 4-star slot receiver Jaylen Waddle, who is the team’s top target at the position. Watkins had a committable offer for the Crimson Tide before Slade Bolden, a 3-star athlete who’s expected to play slot at Alabama, committed last week. It’s unclear right now where Watkins stands with Alabama, but it’s hard to see the Tide turn down one of the nation’s best prospects if he wants in. Spots are tight in the 2018 class, but Alabama always makes the numbers work out in the end.
“Coach Saban told me that when he watched my film, it was like no other,” Watkins said. “He said it was one of the best films he’s watched from a high school kid.”
The future fashion designer said he’s in contact with wide receivers coach Mike Locksley and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll almost every day. Daboll’s career in the NFL and his five Super Bowl rings with the New England Patriots help Alabama’s chances with Watkins.
“We talked about that a lot,” Watkins said of his conversations with Daboll. “He was talking to me about some of the guys he had coached in the league. He was telling me all of the different things he would do to get me the ball, like putting me in open space, reverses and swing passes.”
If Alabama has space for Watkins as we get closer to National Signing Day, it seems likely that he’ll be a Crimson Tide commit.
LSU commit Kelvin Joseph says he’s focusing on 4 schools
Kelvin Joseph, a 4-star defensive back from Scotlandville Magnet High School (Baton Rouge, La.), looked like he was on the verge of flipping to Alabama last summer, but he decided to hold off. He actually told SEC Country that he was close to making that decision, but decided to wait.
Joseph, one of Alabama’s top safety targets in the 2018 class, said on Monday that the Crimson Tide are one of the teams he’ll be closely looking at until Signing Day. Florida, Florida State and LSU were the other three teams.
It doesn’t seem as likely as it once did that Joseph will flip to Alabama at some point. One of his best friends, Javonte Smart, committed to LSU’s basketball team. Joseph also experienced a personal tragedy when one of his good friends recently died. That friend wanted him to attend LSU, and Joseph has been vocal on Twitter about following through with that request.
I think it’s more likely Alabama flips LSU defensive back commit Nadab Joseph than Kelvin Joseph at this time.
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