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SEC Recruiting Notebook: Schools Won’t Give Up On Watson

sec-recruiting-notebook-gfxQuarterback Deshaun Watson‘s recruitment has stayed the same since he committed to Clemson more than 15 months ago.

He continues to say he’s solid to the Tigers while more and more schools keep recruiting him.

The latest school is Alabama. The Crimson Tide offered Watson a scholarship last week, joining a list that includes Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida State, Ohio State, Oregon and Southern California.

Watson, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 1 quarterback by, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he’s used to all the attention from other schools.

“I can’t tell them to stop coming by here,” he said. “They can still come by and check out another player on my team but still watch me. You know, I can’t ever tell a school not to recruit me because it’s an honor and a privilege for them to throw me a full ride offer and (tell) me to come play at the school and get a free education.”

Watson, who attends Gainesville (Ga.) High School, has entertained the idea of visiting other schools. He told ESPN RecruitingNation last month that he would take all five official visits this fall but has since softened on the idea. Instead, he told the AJC he has a list of “fallback schools” in case the status of his commitment to Clemson changes.

“For me, it would be Auburn, Georgia, Ohio State, Alabama, USC and Oregon,” Watson said.

Georgia is intriguing. The home-state school has shown strong interest in Watson, who’s the only quarterback in the 2014 class to receive a scholarship offer from the Bulldogs.

“They have let it be known that I am their guy for 2014 and the only quarterback they plan to go after,” Watson told ESPN. “Mike Bobo and Mark Richt said they want a local guy to take over their offense and lead them to a national championship.”

Georgia will be looking for a new starting quarterback in 2014 after senior Aaron Murray departs. Alabama will be as well with AJ McCarron entering his senior year in Tuscaloosa.

Auburn has a group of quarterbacks set to return in 2014 but no one has set himself apart from the others. That opportunity for early playing time, which Clemson can also offer as Tajh Boyd enters his final year in college, will be the sales pitch from several schools recruiting Watson.

He can expect to hear more from those schools between now and the day he finally steps on a college campus. As Gainesville coach Bruce Miller told the AJC, “every school” is interested in Watson. And he doesn’t seem bothered by the attention.

“That’s going to keep on happening,” Watson said.


Leslie eligible for LSU

Wide receiver Quantavius Leslie received good news this week when he learned he will be eligible to play at LSU this fall, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Leslie will offer LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger another big-play weapon when he arrives in Baton Rouge.

Leslie caught 24 passes for 517 yards and seven touchdowns last season at Hinds Community College in Raymond, Miss. The 6-foot-3, 185-pounder should be a nice complement to wide receivers Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry.

“I feel like I’m the deep ball threat they could really use,” Leslie told The Clarion-Ledger when he committed to LSU in September.

The Tigers have again gone the junior college route to find help at receiver for 2014.

Wide receive D’haquille Williams from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College committed to LSU last week. Williams is a big-time talent, according to James Smith of the Times-Picayune.

“Williams is gifted and fits into that rare “special” category. In my many years as a scout, Williams is the best high school wideout I’ve ever laid eyes on, surpassing Sammy Watkins (Clemson) and Amari Cooper (Alabama).”

Those two players have worked out pretty well so far.


Auburn continues its momentum

Defensive end Justin Thornton is the latest commitment for Auburn, which has seven pledges for the class of 2014.

Thornton, who chose Auburn over LSU and Texas, attends Vigor High School in Prichard, Ala., along with Auburn linebacker commitment Deshaun Davis.

That gives the Tigers four commitments from the Mobile area, a priority for Auburn if it wants to return to a competitive state in the SEC.

“We plan on winning the national championship one day,” Thornton told “I feel like this class is special – a No. 1 class.”

It isn’t No. 1 yet, but Auburn’s class is climbing in the rankings. The Tigers are No. 18 in the Rivals 2014 team rankings. Alabama is the only school with less commitments (six) and a higher ranking (No. 13) than Auburn.

Mobile linebacker Tre Williams, who committed to the Tigers last week, believes Thornton’s pledge is the latest sign that Auburn will be a school to pay attention to in recruiting.

“I feel we’re going to do big things,” Williams said. “We’re going to have a great future. I’m pretty sure they’re going to do well this year, coming up and by the time we get there we’re just going to keep building up.”


Get your tickets to see The Jokers

Florida’s recruiting plan must be working because the Gators’ Photoshopped artwork continues to be a poplar topic. And it seems to end up in the Recruiting Notebook on MrSEC every other week.

Florida wide receivers coach Joker Phillips has his latest recruiting pitch: The Jokers.


It doesn’t really make a lot of sense, but it does grab people’s attention. And that’s what Phillips is trying to accomplish on the recruiting trail.

(For a complete look at Phillips’ Photoshop mastery, Mike Foss of USA Today has the rundown.)

Ole Miss defensive line coach Chris Kiffin,’s Recruiter of the Year for 2013, recently used twitter to pass along his recruiting approach as he travels to the West Coast looking for talent.

Ole Miss, which has nine commitments for the 2014 class, last landed a prospect from California in 2012 when offensive lineman Pierce Burton signed with the Rebels. Burton started all 13 games for Ole Miss last season.




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