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Georgia Tech Recruiting: DE Eddie Watkins is Commit No. 12 for 2020

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Another edge rusher for a team in need of them

NCAA Football: Georgia Tech at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

The Jackets’ early recruiting success continued today, as 2020 defensive end Eddie Watkins announced his commitment to Geoff Collins’ squad.

Watkins is listed at 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds and is rated a three-star recruit on both Rivals (5.5) and the 247Sports Composite (.8366). He hails from the small town of Evergreen in southern Alabama, about halfway between Mobile and Montgomery; with his commitment, he becomes the first player from the state of Alabama in Tech’s 2020 class.

Film Review

Literally the first highlight in Watkins’ film is him intercepting a screen pass and running it back for six. Is it possible? Could... could he be the prophesied Savior? The one who will deliver Tech fans from the eternal curse of giving up 17 yards on every single screen pass?

Whether or not he represents eternal salvation, Watkins has a few things working in his favor. The biggest one is his speed—he has great burst off the line, and he uses it to punish quarterbacks who take too long in the pocket and running backs who don’t get to the outside quickly enough on sweeps. He’s also very good at wrapping up when he meets the ballcarrier, which is something that’s been an issue for the Tech front seven in recent years. Lastly, he plays both standing up and with his hand down at his end position, and that versatility should help him at the next level. At 220 pounds, he might need to bulk up a bit, but he’s got promise as a speed rusher.

The issue is that he comes across as a very raw prospect on film. Watkins doesn’t really show much in the way of trench moves—he’s good at getting around opposing linemen and shedding blocks as the ballcarrier approaches on the edge, but his film doesn’t show him using swim or spin moves or even bull rushing his opponent. Also, like many high school prospects, Watkins needs to work on keeping his pad level down when engaged with offensive linemen. Neither of these are necessarily catastrophic for a high school junior, but the takeaway is that he’ll need a bit more development time to become a contributor.

The talent is definitely there, though, and Watkins could very well become an important part of the pass rush in time.

Outlook

With Watkins’ commitment, the Tech recruiting class now looks like this:

2020 GT Football Recruiting Class

Pos. First Name Last Name Height Weight Hometown State Rivals 247Sports Comp Commit Date Signed LOI
Pos. First Name Last Name Height Weight Hometown State Rivals 247Sports Comp Commit Date Signed LOI
QB Tucker Gleason 6-2 206 Tampa FL 3* (5.6) 3* (.8622) 3/7/19 Yes
TE Billy Ward 6-4 235 Locust Grove GA 3* (5.6) 3* (.8559) 3/7/19 Yes
WR Ryan King 6-4 205 Grayson GA 3* (5.7) 3* (.8830) 3/14/19 Yes
DB Miles Brooks 6-2 183 Jacksonville FL 4* (5.9) 4* (.9087) 3/24/19 Yes
DB Jalen Huff 6-1 169 Buford GA 3* (5.6) 3* (.8689) 4/3/19 Yes
OT Jordan Williams 6-6 305 Gainesville GA 3* (5.7) 3* (.8742) 4/6/19 Yes
OL Cade Kootsouradis 6-4 285 Crestview FL 3* (5.5) 3* (.8473) 4/22/19 Yes
LB Tyson Meiguez 6-2 210 Fairburn GA 3* (5.7) 3* (.8721) 4/23/19 Yes
DL Akelo Stone 6-3 244 Savannah GA 3* (5.6) 3* (.8601) 4/26/19 Yes
APB Jahmyr Gibbs 5-11 194 Dalton GA 4* (5.9) 4* (.9653) 5/25/19 No
EDGE Kyle Kennard 6-6 215 Atlanta GA 3* (5.6) 3* (.8614) 6/12/19 Yes
OT Wing Green 6-7 270 Leesburg GA 3* (5.5) 3* (.8552) 6/25/19 Yes
EDGE Khaya Wright 6-3 200 Miami FL 3* (5.6) 3* (.8605) 6/25/19 Yes
OT Michael Rankins 6-5 275 Ruskin FL 3* (5.7) 3* (.8755) 7/1/19 Yes
WR Bryce Gowdy 6-2 190 Deerfield Beach FL 4* (5.8) 4* (.8980) 7/30/19 Yes
WR Avery Boyd 6-2 198 Tallahassee FL 3* (5.6) 3* (.8376) 8/24/19 Yes
OL Ryan Spiers 6-4 275 Biloxi MS 2* (5.4) 3* (.8160) 9/8/19 Yes
WR Nate McCollum 5-9 180 Hampton GA 3* (5.7) 3* (.8870) 10/25/19 Yes
OL Paula Vaipulu 6-4 303 Channelview TX 3* (5.5) 3* (.8627) 10/31/19 Yes
DE Albany Casey 6-4 240 Bay Minette AL 3* (5.6) 3* (.8518) 12/3/19 No
DT Emmanuel Johnson 6-4 260 North Charletson SC 2* (5.4) 3* (.8336) 12/11/19 Yes
EDGE Jared Ivey 6-6 215 Suwanee GA 3* (5.7) 4* (.8946) 12/11/19 Yes
LB Khatavian Franks 6-2 205 Fairburn GA 3* (5.6) 3* (.8837) 12/18/19 Yes
QB Jeff Sims 6-3 205 Jacksonville FL 4* (5.8) 4* (.9169) 12/18/19 Yes

Watkins joins recent commits JaQuari Wiggles and Akelo Stone at a position group where the team is fairly thin and has few, if any, proven commodities heading into the 2019 campaign. Even if a pair of capable starters emerge at defensive end this fall, it’s virtually certain that there will be room for next year’s incoming freshmen to make an impact at the position.