Freshman Watkins leaving UF following second arrest in three months


Following his second arrest in less than three months, freshman Justin Watkins announced Friday his intention to seek a release from his scholarship and leave the University of Florida.

The decision ends the UF career of the Gators’ top rated 2018 signee before it could begin.

Watkins, 19, signed with the Gators on National Signing Day in February, but found himself arrested for trespassing in May after a domestic dispute with a female victim.

Watkins was arrested once again Tuesday after a female victim with whom he was in a relationship went to the University of Florida police department alleging Watkins choked, beat and assaulted her by throwing a hair brush and can of hair grease. He is facing four charges that include false imprisonment/kidnapping and domestic battery by strangulation. Both are third-degree felonies.

UF coach Dan Mullen suspended Watkins indefinitely from all team activities pending the outcome of the investigation.

He was released from the Alachua County jail Wednesday night on $40,000 bond.

Watkins, a former four-star prospect out of East Ridge High in Clermont, enrolled at Florida in June for the Summer B semester and was expected to contribute as a cornerback and on special teams.



      • “beat and assaulted her by throwing a hair brush and can of hair grease.” — I’m not exactly understanding why a few individuals are considering this an issue of race. He actually had the audacity to utilize these items in his assault.

        • Matt. I would not have used that in one of my post, no matter what was used. Those two things, used as it was, came across as racist. And I am not the only one who thought so. And I stick with my post for that reason. And I read the article and knew the details of it all. Stick think his post had racist overtones.

          • If any noise that can be made with a mouth offends you, it is because your parents weren’t fit to raise you.

          • Then you need to rethink how you assess such things. Throwing around the race card can harm people’s reputation…and virtue signaling when it’s not deserved makes heroes of no one.

          • Some people are just “Racist Happy” and look for some stupid reason to call someone a racist regardless of the circumstances. How someone comes to the conclusion that someone was being racist because they cited two of the items used in the assault is a really stretch. PC gone wild!

      • Hey Leland, a lot has happened while you were away. At last count, the world ended at least twice, with Florida hardest hit. I think football season is still back on for September 1st, though. I’ll fill you in when I know more myself.

      • Ieland. Yes, expressing whatever, whenever, however, no matter how much it offends or implies, has become the norm since about two years ago. Sickens me. But the wrap will go back on all that soon enough.

          • In case any reader of Gatorsports hasn’t seen 100+ times or more, Tampagator is always the righteous one, always the lecturer, and most of the time is basing his arguments on nothing but his unfounded opinions. Reading his drivel makes you want to pull your hair out. Don’t.

  1. There is nothing wrong with your OPPORTUNITIES,you need to realize that the problem lies with you and YOUR behavior. I HOPE anywhere you go the rules still apply, too many of you kids don’t seem to realize that with OPPORTUNITY comes some RESPONSIBILITY on your part. Remember hearing people say “nothing is FREE’. It’s a true statement, anytime you are “given” something something is expected of you. REMEMBER that wherever you go, LEARN something from your FLORIDA experience!!

    • Thank you Creek. I wish there was a mechanism in place that if any player was arrested, convicted there should be a set of requirements before they are cleared to play at any level. Too easy to go elsewhere to a team that is willing to look the other way which perpetuates the problem as the individual hasn’t had any help. Or as the psych people say they haven’t admitted they have a problem. They will never admit to one until the consequences force the realization. It does start with responsibility and being accountable for ones actions.

  2. Leaving UF to “better your opportunities”. Nice one. I think there’s what, 50,000 others, currently enrolled at UF to better their opportunities. Fact of the matter is you screwed yourself, Watkins, and you know it. Grow up, then a lot of your opportunities will better themselves. Good luck. Bye!

    • Rob. Watkins had previously posted on twitter that he has “trust issues can’t help it”. Well, he better go get some serious help with that so he can have better opportunities in the future. Or his better opportunity will be working in the prison library.

        • I was getting to reply that this kid is already facing prison with the current charges but then I realized you are being sarcastic in this reply to Tampa.

          Tampa, anybody who spends a great deal of time labeling others as one thing or another should also look at themselves in the mirror. As Tony Robbins and perhaps others have said, “We become what we think about!”.

  3. “…to better my opportunities”?

    Do I detect a tad of resentment about being unfairly arrested and then suspended by the coach? Naw…couldn’t be, how stupid of me to even think that of such an upstanding choir boy. Now all is lost, we’ll be lucky to win a football game at all this year, and hell, we might as well drop football altogether as an NCAA sport. I ask you, how can life at Florida get any worse now that he’s decided to move on….you know….for better opportunities? Clearly, if we had just done more………

  4. I guess he is going to enroll at Harvard next, since he is looking for a better educational opportunity than what he had at Florida. Or maybe he was indicating he wanted to go to a university that does not hold its athletes and/or students to any behavioral standards or pay out any consequences if those standards are not met. Hey, Justin, that would be, FSU, where women are preseason practice for better opportunities to assault women when you reach the NFL.

  5. Really, Jackah? Sounds a bit racist there, doesn’t it duuude? Anyway see ya, Watkins. You had ‘opportunity’ at UF but you chose to squander it by hitting, choking, and stalking a female student, amongst other things (allegedly). Way to play the blame game and blame others for your boneheaded and dumb actions. Try not to repeat those same actions at Hinds CC, because that’s where you’re ending up-no D1 program worth their salt will touch you with a 20 ft. pole. Bu-bye!!

  6. Don’t know him personally, but everything publicly indicates he would fit in well with Lane and his band of thugs. Then, after much ado, land a starring role in the NFL and lead his team in many episodes of kneeling to our National Anthem!

    • Finally, a more positive post. Sheesh, the tone of the posters here. Dreadful. Yeah, I am glad he chose to better his opportunities. I am an optimist and hope he can find a better self. He is still a kid and we all ought to wish he finds his way.

      • David. The first step in doing that would be for him to not tweet……”leaving Florida for better opportunities.” The kid really seems to have no clue at all, or any remorse for basically attempting to choke a woman to death. I really hope he gets help. But not for him. For the rest of society.

    • Now that you put it that way, daz, you’re right. But the way he phrased it still was off-putting, in the context of all the havoc he created in the last couple of months. Good perspective tho…..he’s gone…..time to lay off and move on. 34 days ’till kickoff!

  7. There is no doubt in my mind that his career at UF had ended after this most recent incident. There is no way Mullen wants to start his tenure with that kind of negativity. Hopefully it sets the tone going forward. Having said that, I am big on second chances (which he got). I also believe that UF (and any school for that matter) should provide transition support for these kids coming from neighborhoods where there is little or no law and order. He may be able to get away with stuff like that in the hood but not in Gainesville and especially on campus.

    Either way sad but necessary separation

  8. Mentally weak. There is no doubt any of these recruits are physically gifted. To be in the top 100’s of tens of 1000’s speaks for itself. Mental strength is something that isn’t always high on the list. Everyone has the ability to say know, everyone has the ability to help their friends or hurt their friends. Doing what is right is the hardest thing to do because it is rarely the easiest. My electrician friend and father says people are like electricity and take the path of least resistance (easy way). Weeding the weak. Those too weak to resist the influences of things that are counter to their future will wed themselves from the program. It is not the coaches removing them as much as they have removed themselves.

  9. Sad all around. At least last year’s knuckleheads messed up without being physically abusive. Theft and drugs are awful. Beating a woman like Watkins did or nearly starting a gang war against a bunch of loser gamblers…this summer has gone off the rails with amazing speed. Any chance we can keep the team in a lock down situation during summer break?

        • Probably so, if ones perspective is that if one posts falsehoods enough times it will become the truth through repetition of falsehoods. The unbelievable becomes the believable and the believable becomes the unbelievable (Orwellian). That strategy is less consumable by the better educated, or those with minds and thoughts that are openly receptive to honesty and truth and close minded to dishonesty and lies.

          • Well, again I find myself in the unfortunate position of not knowing what you just said, but I’ll sure as hell defend your right to say it. Whatever it was.

            But for a total lack of computer skills, here’s where I would append that little yellow smiley face which Rog is so fluent with…..alas, I know not how so you’ll just have to take my word that I’m kidding you, of course.

          • Well then, let me illustrate for you. “Orwellian” is a word used to describe a situation, idea, or societal condition identified as being destructive to the welfare of a free and open society. Telling lie after lie as truth to convince the masses that your lies are the truth is “Orwellian” in nature. Clinton, due to his democratic values (not moral values) was not very effective telling lies to become truth. Trump, on the other hand, due to his authoritarian nature, is very effective using lies and more lies as truth to achieve his goals and objectives with the apparent support of the masses. And before you go off on me as a evil “liberal”, I am a moderate conservative who supported Kasich for President and did not vote for Trump or Hillary. But, back to you post, you in a very simplistic manner, were being “Orwellian” with your comment about Trump. Say one thing that is not true as a means to achieve another thing. Clearer to you now?

          • Gosh. I think I get it. But who was the guy who said anything about Trump though? Or Hillary? Or that Kasich guy you like, whoever he is? Wasn’t me, my sheets are clean there!

            No, dang it all, I don’t get it. Still clear as mud. Sorry, I’ll try to do better next time.

          • Damned if I didn’t. I probably skipped over it because I thought I was being scolded again, the Orwellian thing having gone completely over my head. My apologies, just waiting for time to turn the A/C off again so the old IQ goes back up according to higher room temperature!

          • You mean like telling the country you can keep your doctor over 3 dozen times, even though you know it’s not true? How about telling the country you won’t open up our banking system to the world’s leading sponsor of terror, and then doing it anyway? I’ve got it, telling the country you didn’t know about a bathroom server, even though you’ve sent and received multiple emails from that server… You idiots will fall for anything.

        • Tampa, look I don’t come on a sports site to get into politics, that’s what’s great about sports. However, when you continually talk about the President when it has nothing to do with the situation it comes off as petty whining. Nothing racial about the guy’s post and crying wolf about racism where it isn’t doesn’t help anybody

          • Matt. Racism is raising its ugly head back up all over this country, and it is largely due to the current and just past president dividing this country to the far left and far right. I for one will stand up against racism always, be it obvious or only apparent. And be it at a shopping mall, in my living room, or on a sports blog. The poster may not have intended to be racist in his comment, but the post could and was easily interpreted as such. He could have used other and much better language in his post and he did not. Therefore, I still think and believe what I posted about his post. You have the right to disagree. I have the right to speak my mind on the subject. Someone needs to in this current society that seems to be reverting back to the 1950s.

          • Tampa – as you may recall, I don’t want politics here on Gatorsports either, but I will say that I respect your comment above that said both the current and last President have divided this country. Most people think it’s one or the other…which in my opinion, makes them part of the problem. Now, back to Gator Football 🙂

          • Gator. No doubt it does, and plenty just like you get nourishment from plenty of others’ tears as well (I see it all over the place these days). Kind of sickening, and scary, really.

        • Kasich is a liberal republican and there’s no such thing as a “moderate” conservative. They are mutually exclusive terms. A moderate is code word for a liberal republican! The term conservative has been so bastardized by Rino(liberal) Repub’s who want to appeal to true conservatives that the term use now is a joke! A conservative is one who doesnt believe in murdering babies, believes in the Constitution like freedom of religious worship, freedom from government interference in their lives, liberty, the 2nd amendment and oppose socialism except in private hands(like churches and other service orgs.) among other things.

  10. Wow. This young man sure needs a lot of opportunities. Let’s see he played at three different high schools because he was “hard to coach” (that’s according to one of his prior high school coaches I spoke with) He committed to two different colleges before signing with the Gators and now before he even played a single down he has been suspended and either left the team on his own accord or was asked to leave ( I guess we will never know) so he is off to another college (if he can find one willing to take a chance on offering home him a scholarship). He did no jail time for his prior offense earlier this year (yet anyway). How many opportunities do you get before you take advantage of one. I think his parents need to get him some professional anger management help before he really hurts someone and will then have to pay some serious consequences. For his sake and his future I sure hope he does because he is wasting his talent. Good luck in your future endeavors.

  11. He should not be allowed to “leave” but rather removed from both football and the university. That way he won’t be allowed in any other SEC program and perhaps not any big program. He probably should go to jail, not school.

  12. The other day I was driving on Dale Mabry Hwy (Tampa) and I saw this quote, ” You are personally responsible for becoming more ethical than the society you grew up in.” I thought it was interesting I looked up who said it and it was Eliezer Yudkowsky. He had no formal education, high school or college, but comes up with that quote, has multiple publications in AI, and runs a private research organization out of Berkley. Looked into his views and I am not in agreement with most of them but still that quote. I started thinking about Justin and his life experiences and this guy and his life experiences and again that quote.
    Life lessons should start at home (parents and family members), then in the classroom (teachers and classmates), then on the field if you play a sport (coaches). It should be in that order but sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way.
    It sounds like Justin and Eliezer have taking their “opportunities” and gone in opposite directions. But have they? Justin went to three different high schools, gotten arrested twice in recent months and left one of the best “opportunities” he will ever have. Eliezer is accused of charging too much for his seminars and having a cult-like following and behavior.

    Wish there was an easy answer, but I think somewhere in between those life lessons from your family, your teachers, and your coaches is the answer. If you are actually taking in all of those life lessons, you will have an overall concept of what is right and wrong and eventually you and only you are responsible for doing what you believe is right and just be ready for the consequences when you don’t. Maybe we need to spend more time talking about consequences.
    I liked Mullen’s quote after he heard about the players and the gambler, “This has been an opportunity for us to educate our players about the dangers and negative perceptions that can occur when conflict arises, and how important honesty and good decision making is.” He used the words: opportunity, educate, honesty, and good decision making. Need to keep hammering that home, until it becomes ingrained into all the players and they are able to pass on to new players and even after football to their families.
    I am ready for the season to start, Go Gators!

    • Very nicely put, PR. I’m glad you are doing what you are doing in and out of the classroom — not much appreciation for it sometimes, certainly no fame or fortune involved — but men like you got it right: It’s a calling.

      • Gator-6–The term “Orwellian” comes from a novel by Dwayne Orwell. The name of the novel was “Brave New World.” It was published in 1922, and the word refers to a social-political condition characterized by excessive ennui.

        • OK, my mistake was trying to match it with the actor, the Martian invasion, and 1984. Everything is alright tho, for the time being, as rings have apparently been kissed as appropriate and all is well again in Gator Land.

          One has to keep a sharp eye out for those ennui, devilish little blighters that they are.

  13. TampaGator-You bringing up “racist” in the first place was not even relevant to what Jackah said. This is solely on you and you are an example of exactly what is wrong in this country in throwing up the race card and reading into something not there. Trying to be so “politically correct” is killing our country and splitting sides when those individuals start to label others inappropriately.

    • DFF. The language used in the post could and was easily interpreted as racist in nature, and not just by me on here. Simply put, one should be sensitive to racial issues and language used on the internet and in public. Nothing “politically correct or incorrect” about that. And Jackah respectfully addressed the issue below and it is done. Hope we all learned some lessons.

        • gelco30. What about if one did not read the article? If not, the post would seem to be very racist. And what if one read the article (that would be me) and did not remember those items being mentioned and, as a result, made the same association that a person that had not read the article would likely make. Now, do you understand my point? But, truly, I am sick of trying to make a point to a crowd that has no interest in its value or its reason. So, Go Gators.

          • Go Gators, but if anyone is reading the comments of an article then it is assumed they read the article.

          • Tampa, That’s the point. it wasn’t. And trying to make it racist when it isn’t certainly makes a case that you are looking for a reason to accuse someone. But let’s go one step further. If someone can bother you by words, you’ve ceded power to them they otherwise do not have. But the MOST important point YOU made I’ll absolutely agree with, GO GATORS!!!!

          • If you’re sick of trying to make a point to a crowd that has no interest in its value or reason, then surely you cast your pearls before swine. Let me say on behalf of the rest of us, “Oink, Oink”. But the thing that really needs to be said, you’ve already said yourself, and so has Daz, and so has Gelco, and for that matter, so has jackah when he rendered his peace making apology: GO GATORS!

            As our pal Rog would say, “and now back to Gator football”.