Tom Herman needed a win. He can’t officially mark one in the record books until the fall, but he notched a victory for the Longhorns when he flipped four-star athlete Justin Watkins. Watkins, a Florida native, entered junior day Saturday committed to Florida State. He voiced interest in Texas over the last week and pulled the trigger in Austin on an unofficial visit. He’s the first commitment of the 2018 class.
The 5-foot-11, 172-pound playmaker is listed as an athlete on most recruiting sites. He’s likely to play slot receiver and return punts and kicks for Texas. He’s electric after the catch and excels best when converting underneath passes into long gains. He’s elusive, quick in tight areas and has a nose for the end zone.
Watkins voiced complaints about the lack of attention he received in recent weeks from Florida State and pointed to the opportunity of early playing time as a reason Texas emerged as his favorite. A visit to Austin for a star-studded junior day sealed the deal. Watkins was joined by around 50 premier 2018 prospects and a handful of talented 2019 targets.
Wide receiver is the top offensive priority for the Longhorns in the 2018 class and Watkins becomes the first of what Texas hopes is at least three receivers in this cycle. Locking up a slot receiver early was crucial because now Herman’s staff can concentrate on outside receiving targets like Joshua Moore, Al’Vonte Woodard, Brennan Eagles and others.