Posted: 5:01 a.m. Thursday, April 25, 2013
By Michael Carvell
After wrestling with the decision for months, the state’s No. 1-ranked college football prospect says his recruitment is over.
All-world quarterback Deshaun Watson of Gainesville High School is sticking with his longtime commitment to Clemson and told the AJC he will not visit any more colleges.
“I’m 100-percent solid with Clemson,” Watson said on Wednesday. “I’m not going to visit anybody else. I’m just going to focus on Clemson and my high school season. I’m not interested in going to visit anywhere.”
The 6-foot-4, 200-pounder said he reached the decision after discussing the situation with his mother. “I’ve been thinking about it a lot. I talked to my mom, and she said it was fine with her.”
Watson committed to Clemson during his sophomore season, but worried some Tiger fans by taking visits to UGA, Florida, Auburn and Florida State since then. The 5-star is the only QB that UGA has offered so far for 2014.
Earlier this month, Watson told TigerIllustrated.com that Clemson was No. 1, with Georgia and Ohio State “tied for second.” At last week’s Atlanta Elite 11 QB competition, Watson told ESPN that he planned to take all five of his official visits.
This week, Watson declared that he is finished looking around.
“I just found a place there (with Clemson) and I’m comfortable with the coaches,” Watson said. “I like the academics and it’s close to home. I just really want to focus on my senior year and focus on winning a state championship. I want to do something that no other quarterback in Gainesville history has ever done.”
Despite Watson’s stance, colleges are unlikely to give up on the elite talent until January – when he plans to enroll early at Clemson. This week, Arizona stopped by Gainesville to extend a scholarship offer, while Ole Miss made a visit to reassure Watson’s coaches that the Rebels still want him.
Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris also stopped by on Tuesday.
What will Watson tell other schools? He said he hasn’t had much contact recently with anybody other than Clemson. But if he did, he’d say “Thank you for the opportunity, but I’m going to Clemson right now.”
Entering his senior year at Gainesville, Watson is the most accomplished QB in state history. He holds scholarship offers from most of the nation’s top colleges, he led Gainesville its first-ever state championship as a junior, and he already holds state records in career passing yards (9,360) and passing touchdowns (108), with one season left to play. He’s the top-rated Georgia prospect in the ESPN 150 rankings – at No. 13 overall.
Watson would be the biggest catch out of Georgia in years for Clemson, which traditionally recruits strongly in the border state. Two years ago, Clemson didn’t sign any recruits from Georgia. Last year, Clemson got off to sizzling start in Georgia, including an early commitment from Robert Nkemdiche, the consensus No. 1 prospect. However, Nkemdiche and three other Georgia recruits de-committed from Clemson, but the Tigers still finished with five signees from the state, most notably Brookwood wide receiver Kyrin Priester.
This year, Clemson is poised for a strong Georgia crop. The Tigers are high on the list of Sandy Creek WR Demarre Kitt, Calvary Day TE Milan Richard and Liberty County LB Raekwon McMillan, among others.
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