Watkins commits to Clemson


Florida’s search for help on the defensive line just got harder.

Forest City, N.C., defensive tackle Carlos Watkins informed The Sun on Friday afternoon that he committed to Clemson over UF.

He announced the decision hours later on Senior Night at Chase High School.

Watkins attended Friday Night Lights back in July and took an official visit for the Alabama game. The Gators made a strong impression on both of his trips, and he told Rivals.com on Oct. 11 that UF held a “slight edge” over the Tigers.

In the end, however, Gainesville was just too far away.

“Both programs are great,” Watkins’ head coach Daniel Bailey said Friday, “but I think it came down to distance.”

The Rivals100 prospect had previously given Florida the lead because of the NFL experience on its coaching staff. But the Clemson coaches began pursuing Watkins early in his recruiting process and were able to build a strong relationship with him.

“One of the key things for any kid is how you feel around the coaching staff,” Bailey said, “and he’s really comfortable with their coaches and the guys who will be his teammates next year.”

With Watkins now out of the picture, the Gators will have a difficult time finding another defensive tackle to join Jafar Mann and Omari Phillips in their 2012 class.

Although Monrovia, Calif., DT Ellis McCarthy lists UF in his top five, the five-star will likely stay on the west coast. The other top candidate, Edwardsville, Ill., DT Vincent Valentine, is a heavy Nebraska lean.
Another possibility is four-star Dalvin Tomlinson of McDonough, Ga., Henry County. There is mutual interest between he and UF, and at 6-2, 270, he offers the necessary size in the middle.


  1. Coach Wil stated when he was hired that he did not look at the stars assigned to a prospect but the quality of the prospect! It is now time for Wil and his staff to find those diamonds in the rough who have been missed by all those so called expert recruiting analyst found all over the internet. Fans may not like three star linemen but if they graduate from Florida as four or five stars, who cares?

  2. we need bigger linebackers! Bamas guys that are NFL 1st round picks are like 6’4 250+. Our group right now besides Powell dont even come close. They should move Powell inside since he cant hasnt shown he can get sacks off the edge anyway…

  3. Good Point Flash, I expected a lot more from Powell, really the whole defense. Just my opinion, and I still support them to the fullest but I’m really disappointed. I thought we were going to be a BEAST on defense, so far we can barely hold our own. Go Gators, Beat Auburn!!!

  4. Watckins seesm like a very solid, well-rounded, classy young man. I like him. It’s hard to beat the distance factor, but the main factor in his decision was his mother, who didn’t want him moving that far away to Florida. Mom’s are especially difficult to overcome too. I wish him all the best at Clemson though and hopefully we’ll see him sacking FSU QB’s for the next four years. 😉

    OTOH, recruiting isn;t done until National Signing Day either. 😉

  5. @SCOOTERP, we’re behing on the LOS right now because of physical development. Bama and LSU have the advantage of having a lot of veteran, physically-developed upperclassman on their lines of scrimmage this year. They also enjoy having established programs under their existing coaching staffs, and we’ll have that by the time Muschamp is bringing in his third recruiting class at UF. We have to transition from a more speed/finesse style of systems to a more size/power systems, giving up a little speed fere or there. We also already have a big-time large MLB commit in our present class. That said, we have great talent along the LOS, it’s just needing some development, especially on defense.

  6. Don’t we need to sign up more than 2 offensive and 2 defensive lineman a yesr? Seems that if we rotate them in and out there would be plenty of room for all of them to get playing time. And with injuries and tranfers some extra quality guys would be a great asset to have. 1st string, second string wouldn’t matter. Just call them linemen.