It's been a big year for Dekoda Watson
, a defensive end out of South Aiken High School in Aiken, South Carolina. Prior to his senior year, Watson picked up offers from Kentucky and North Carolina in addition to several smaller schools. During his senior season, Watson amassed big-time stats – 124 tackles, 11 sacks, 32 hurries, 23 tackles for loss, two touchdowns, and one blocked kick.
While his senior campaign was impressive in its own right, it was his MVP performance in the Shrine Bowl, a game matching the top seniors in South Carolina against the top seniors in North Carolina, that really opened the eyes of college coaches around the nation. "I was overwhelmed," Watson said of his Shrine Bowl experience. "I really enjoyed playing that day – I can't say about the week, but it was a great day. I didn't even start, but I'm glad [I did so well] – getting MVP showed my talent and that I can play at this level and perform at that level with these players."
Since his performance at the Shrine Bowl, his recruiting has taken off. "It's skyrocketed," he said. "After the Shrine Bowl it went so fast. I'm still trying to get into it and fit in [with the process.] I don't know how to explain it. Every thing is going so fast."
Virginia Tech, Florida State, Tennessee, and South Carolina have all joined into his recruitment, offering Watson to join Kentucky and North Carolina as schools to offer.
"FSU just offered tonight," Watson noted Wednesday night. "Virginia Tech offered a while back. I'll put it like this. Virginia Tech, Tennessee and South Carolina offered right after the Shrine Bowl. North Carolina knew about me early. Kentucky offered me from the get go."
While each of his offers have impressed the unassuming defensive end, his latest offer really raised his eyebrows. "It was kind of funny because me and my dad talked about Florida State a while back, my 9th or 10th grade year, and he said you had to be real good to play there. He wasn't doubting me but he told me the truth. It's hard to get an offer from them. Then, they offered me tonight and I just looked back at him."
While the Seminoles have always been Watson's favorite school, he notes that his visits will determine his college destination. "I've set them up," Watson said of his officials, but with Florida State in it's kind of different. For now it's South Carolina on the 7th, North Carolina the 13th, Tennessee the 20th, and Virginia Tech the 28th. Hopefully I'll squeeze Florida State in somewhere."
Those officials are slated to be a major factor in his decision, but other factors will also play into his college destination. "Really, first is with the education," he said. "Two is my position – how much playing time will I get. Then my recruiting coach and how deep is the position I'm playing at. Also, the history behind the school and its tradition."
Florida State, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Virginia Tech – each of those schools came through with an offer to South Carolina defensive end Dekoda Watson after his impressive performance at the Shrine Bowl in December. Now, the 6'2, 210-pound athlete has a big decision to make.