Elkino Watson, a 6-foot-2, 291 pound defensive tackle, surprised everyone when he chose to sign with USF Wednesday, declining offers from Florida, Miami and Louisville.
Everyone except for USF coach Skip Holtz, that is.
“(Watson) kind of let the cat out of the bag a little bit late in the recruiting process. A couple of days ago he talked to us and said, ‘Coach, I’ve made a decision and I’m comfortable with it, this is what I want to do.'”
By signing his National Letter of Intent to play for USF, Watson immediately became the marquee name of the 2011 class. Watson is the only 4-star rated recruit to sign for USF, according to Rivals.com.
High-profile recruits usually announce their decision by placing hats representing each of the schools they’re considering on a table and then putting on the hat of the school they will sign for.
At Watson’s announcement ceremony, there wasn’t a USF hat on the table. Only headgear representing Florida, Miami and Louisville appeared to be present. But when it came time to announce his decision, Watson had a friend bring him a USF hat from the crowd, surprising nearly everyone in the state.
“Was I surprised? No. Was I shocked? No. Do I think it’s a good decision for him? I think it’s a great decision for him. This may not have been the most popular choice, but I think this is the right choice for him,” Holtz said.
Watson recorded 65 tackles, nine sacks and an interception during his senior season at Booker T. Washington High School in Miami. He will help to fill the void left by Terrell McClain, who is headed for the NFL draft.
USF adds local WRs
Holtz identified a lack of wide receiver height as a potential weakness and rectified it by signing a pair of local wide receivers. Andre Davis, from Jefferson High, is 6-foot-1, and Ruben Gonzalez, from Robinson High, is 6-foot-2.
Both receivers have been active with the USF program in the past.
“I think back to Davis and Gonzalez being here for Junior Day last February. I think back to seeing them at Sling & Shoot Camp here. I remember Andre Davis out on those intramural fields out front making acrobatic catches and one-handed catches” Holtz said.
“I look at how much (Davis) came over here, sitting in meetings and watching film with some of our coaches. He was very active during the recruiting process.”
Two players put on scholarship
Returning members of last year’s team, quarterback Bobby Eveld and running back Dontae Aycock have both been placed on scholarship.
Eveld led the Bulls to a victory over Miami on Nov. 27 after starter B.J. Daniels left the game injured.
“Eveld earned that over the course of the year. I had the opportunity to call him on Christmas morning and let him know what we were going to do as kind of a Christmas gift to him,” Holtz said. “It also happened to be his father’s birthday and his father may have been even more excited than (Eveld) was.”
Aycock had to sit out last year after transferring to USF from Auburn.