In a very odd turn of events according to high school coach Chris Hawkins, Watkins joined the Badgers for summer workouts on time in June only to return back to his Galion, Ohio home. But Wisconsin’s coaching staff gave him a second chance to return to the team if he came back by the end of the week. Well Watkins mad the trek back to Madison, only to leave once again a few short days later. At that time the Badgers decided it was time to cut ties with Watkins.
His high school coach stressed that this was not due to academics or any conduct violation. Hawkins told FoxSportsWisconsin.com:
He’s just making a stupid choice because of homesickness and a girlfriend. It’s a weak, weak, weak excuse. But I guess in the mind of 18-year-old boys, sometimes it’s stronger than we can even imagine. . . . He’s unfortunately I think letting a golden opportunity go by.
Watkins was a superb athlete from Ohio that held many hats on the football field. He played wide receiver, punter and was the starting quarterback his senior year for Galion High School. Watkins passed for 1,456 yards and 18 touchdowns as well as torching opposing defenses with his legs by rushing for 1,287 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Being the only four-star wide receiver for head coach Gary Andersen in the 2014 recruiting class, Watkins was expected to come to Madison and help bolster a ver lackluster receiving corps that returns only 28 receptions combined from a year ago.
Hawkins also thought Watkins could contribute right away as a true freshman and noted he was one of the best athletes he’s coached…ever.
Me being his coach and very close to him, it makes me sick to my stomach. I know, his parents know, we all know he’s made a huge mistake. Because he’s the best athlete I’ve ever coached. I’ve been doing this 20-something years.
It’s a blow to the Badgers football team who is looking for receivers to step up to fill the shoes of the departed and current Green Bay Packer Jared Abbrederis. But it looks like Watkins to need to work on himself a bit and here’s hoping he can get back on track and find a program that he can call home. He’s too talented to let it all go to waste.