Butler High School 3 Star ATH Jordan Watkins is fast. The kind of fast that draws oohs and ahhs from fans and coaches alike. The kind of fast that drew the attention of his hometown Cards and their arch rival UK. During the summer, the hotly contested battle was won by UK as Watkins committed to them in June. However, the war was just beginning.
Earlier this month, Watkins decommitted from UK. Immediately, the chatter seemed to indicate that Louisville was the school Watkins had his eye on. Today, the chatter became truth and the war was won by the good guys as Jordan Watkins joined Louisville’s 2020 class.
— Jordan Watkins ¹ (@jordantwatkins) October 29, 2019
The 6’0 180 lbs ATH chose UofL over UK, Rutgers, and Central Michigan, among others. His overall rank nationally is 882nd while his position rank nationally is 57th in 247sports Composite rankings. Cort Dennison and Gunter Brewer were the point men for the Cards in Watkins recruitment per 247sports.
Speed and athleticism are the two primary words that describe the football player that is Jordan Watkins. He was timed at 4.38 in the 40 yard dash earlier this year. On the football field, he is what many people would call a game breaker.
His highlights show an unbelievably gifted athlete. Watkins lines up all over the field offensively; RB, WR, slot receiver, and even QB. Primarily, Watkins is used as a receiver. His speed on film easily matches the timed speed he recorded. His ability to accelerate quickly is something to behold. To go with his straight line speed, Watkins has a shiftiness that gives him the ability to make tacklers miss. It also works well in helping him get separation at the line of scrimmage. He’s a good route runner as a receiver. He is very good at tracking the ball with his eyes through the air and making difficult over-the-shoulder catches. His hands are strong yet soft; allowing him to make difficult catches without bobbling the ball. Surprisingly, he is able to beat good coverage by out jumping DBs and high pointing the ball. With the ball in his hands, Watkins is a threat to make a house call every time.
Now let’s delve a little deeper into his skills.
Jordan Watkins speed is elite. The word elite gets thrown around a lot these days, but it is not hyperbole. So is his quickness, agility, and acceleration. His very first highlight shows all of this. He first uses a nice little stop-and-start move freezing the DB. Then he just hits the jets and flies right by him. The DB has no chance to catch up and Watkins glides down the field for a TD untouched.
Another example of these abilities is the very next play on his highlight reel. He comes across the middle and is surrounded by defenders. This should be a 5-7 yard catch at most. He makes the catch and accelerates immediately. He literally outruns the coverage and the pursuit angles for a TD. It was an impressive display.
The combination of speed, agility, and acceleration is amazing and the final example of it is on a rushing play. Watkins is in the backfield as a RB. It is shotgun formation and he is to the left of the QB. The handoff goes to him designed to go right. Immediately as he gets the ball a defender is waiting for him in the backfield. He makes a small jump cut to the side and the defender wiffs. He then accelerates and gets the edge. As he’s going up the sideline, a defender appears to have him dead to rights. Watkins jukes this defender out of his shoes and then outruns the pursuit angles of other defenders for the TD.
These three attributes are probably his best and most dangerous weapons on the gridiron. You can’t teach these God given abilities.
Route Running/Tracking the Ball/Hands
Watkins is a good route runner. One of his favorite go-to moves when running routes is the stutter step and go. As the ball is snapped he stutter steps freezing the defender. It does two things: gives him a clean release and allows him to use his acceleration and speed to beat the defender to whatever spot the play calls for. The first highlight, as I mentioned above, illustrates this. Another one is a goal line situation. He is lined up wide and at the snap he stutter steps, freezing the defender and allowing him to get a clean release. He then darts towards the corner where the QB throws the ball. He then jumps over the DB, who was barely able to get there, for the score. Another good example is early in the highlights. Watkins lines up wide and runs a deep post. His movement from running what appeared to be a streak into a post route was flawless and effortless. The movement was fluid and allowed him to beat the defender to the inside. This gave his QB a nice window to throw the ball. QB delivers the good throw and it’s a TD.
With Watkins ability to run streaks and beat coverage with his speed, it’s important he be able to track the ball while running full speed for over-the-shoulder catches. Watkins is very adept at doing this. Numerous plays show his ability to make that type of difficult grab. He is able to find the ball in the air at the correct time and track it all the way into his hands. It also allows him to adjust to a pass if need be. He’s a player any QB will love throwing deep to because he is going to catch the ball in stride 9 times out of 10.
Jordan Watkins has strong, but soft hands. The softness keeps him from bobbling the ball while the strength in his hands allows him to make contested catches. One throw to the end zone the DB is all over Watkins. He goes up and gets the ball despite the DB being very physical and holds on for a TD. Another throw has him getting his body and hands around to snag the ball with a picture perfect catch. His hands were positioned perfectly and he caught the ball away from his body. I do like that when he catches it, he snags it.
High Pointing/Contested Catch
While not as prevalent on his highlights as these other skills, Watkins shows an ability to high point the ball and make contested catches. The end zone throw I talked about was a contested catch that he went up over the DB to get.
There’s another throw towards the end where the DB looks to have committed pass interference. Watkins is able to go up despite the contact along the sideline and make the grab.
While most of the time, Watkins uses his speed, agility, and route running to get wide open, he has the ability to make catches against good coverage.
Louisville got themselves a playmaker and game breaker in Jordan Watkins. UofL will likely utilize is abilities in a variety of ways. I think you could see him line up all over the field much like he does at Butler. More than likely, he will primarily be used as a receiver. In that role, he reminds me a lot of former UofL great Harry Douglas with maybe a tiny bit more speed. Watkins is a exactly what the new staff wants in it’s WRs. He’s a speed demon that can take the top off a defense; a player that no matter where you get him the ball, he can make a huge play. It’s nice to get a playmaker of Jordan Watkins’ caliber. It’s even sweeter because he’s a hometown guy. Watkins has all the ability to become one of the greats to wear a Louisville uniform.
Louisville Football’s recruiting class now has 24 commits. It ranks 30th nationally and is ranked 6th in the ACC per 247sports.