For years, many in Georgia have questioned just how organic the growth of Georgia football powerhouse Grayson has been. Now an Atlanta news network is examining new allegations that call potential illegal recruiting practices into question.
As reported by Fox 5 Atlanta’s investigative team, numerous allegations have been made against Watson, claiming that he has actively recruited teenagers on opposing squads during previous seasons. The incidents in which his behavior has been called into question include telling an opponent he would, “look great in green and gold” (Grayson’s colors) and telling another he would be “missing out on being part of a state championship.”
According to the report, the Georgia High School Association and Gwinnett County administrators received complaints beginning in January about Grayson and Watson. In February, a coach contacted the GHSA to say a player decided to transfer to Grayson after attending one of Watson’s recruiting seminars.
Watson, who served as a “college football advisor” and volunteer assistant coach for Grayson, was recently told that it would be in the best interest of both the school and coach if they severed their relationship. That move was made as an attempt to staunch the criticism against Grayson, and potentially ease the difficulties Grayson AD Brian DeBerry was allegedly having scheduling foes for the 2016 and 2017 season.
That still hasn’t completely cleared the road for Grayson, in part because of lingering doubts about seven new Rams, six of whom connected with Watson on Twitter before their arrival.
Watson steadfastly refuses the validity of any of the allegations against him. “I’ll take a polygraph,” Watson told Fox 5. “I’ll pay for it. Never recruited a kid to come to Grayson.”
“Everything every coach is saying is hearsay. There’s no text messages. There’s no emails. There’s no voicemails. There’s no pictures of me with kids.”
That might be where the issue rests for the foreseeable future with Watson officially out of the picture, though it won’t completely clean the perceived stain on Grayson’s past accomplishments under Watson’s watch.
Grayson won the 2011 state title, was a state semifinalist last season and won one of the toughest football regions in the country in four of the past five years. Grayson faces a tough 2016 schedule under new head coach Jeff Herron. In March, after then-head coach Mickey Conn left to join the staff at Clemson, the Rams hired Herron from Prince Avenue Christian (Athens). He won three state titles at Camden County (Kingsland) and one at Oconee County (Watkinsville).