Dan Mullen didn’t have much time to pivot in recruiting after leaving Mississippi State to join Florida. He had mere weeks before the opening of the Early Signing Period, yet still landed a potential multi-year starting quarterback in four-star Georgia product Emory Jones. He gained even more momentum with the addition of four-star safety Trey Dean.
Now Mullen is breaking through in the traditional late recruiting window, adding a firm commitment from another four-star prospect.
On Saturday, four-star Clermont East Ridge (Fla.) wide receiver Justin Watkins committed to his in-state Gators ahead of Florida State, LSU, Texas and a host of other national powers.
Whether or not Watkins plays as a wide receiver at the next level remains to be seen, but the 5-foot-11, 172-pounder is an exceptional athlete whose skills and physical ability could transition well to the defensive backfield as well.
The Under Armour All-American, who won’t enroll in Gainesville until summer 2018 at the earliest, announced his decision on Twitter and almost immediately was complimented by Jones, who is already on campus.
There’s no question that Watkins is a major recruiting coup for Florida. Now we’ll just see if Mullen can use him to add to the program’s growing store of talented recruits in 2018.