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2021 Recruiting Profile: Florida Gators DT Target Desmond Watson

Could Florida land another prized in-state defensive tackle?

Desmond Watson, Defensive Tackle

School: Armwood High School (Seffner, Florida)

Height/Weight: 6-foot-5, 350 pounds

247Sports Composite Rating: Three stars, No. 21 DT, No. 55 state, No. 356 national

Recruitment History: 

The talented defensive tackle is no stranger to recruiting, as Watson is from powerhouse Armwood High School in Seffner, Florida. Watson has received offers from many high profile teams since the end of his sophomore season, and he has meticulously trimmed his list as his decision approaches. 

Watson released his top six in December, which put LSU, Georgia, Texas A&M, Alabama, and Ohio State as his top schools. On May 18th, Watson cut his list down to three, chopping Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio State. 

Watson has visited both Texas A&M and Florida, but Florida may hold the edge due to the coronavirus pandemic shutting down in-person recruiting visits. Watson was most recently in Gainesville for the final junior day before the shutdown, with Gator commit and Armwood teammate Charles Montgomery, in March. Texas A&M held Watson on a visit last August. 

According to a recent post on his Instagram story, Watson plans to commit during his senior season at Armwood, which is still up in the air due to the pandemic.  

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All signs point to the in-state Gators to win out for Watson, and he has grown close to both defensive line coach David Turner and recruiting assistant David Cooper. Although a commitment may not happen for a few months, there is plenty of reasons for Gator fans to feel good about this one. 

Where He Fits

Watson was ranked as a four-star prospect but has been dropped by multiple recruiting sites despite the impressive camp performances. Some ranking services see his weight as a concern, but you don't find defensive tackles that move like Watson does with such a big frame. Besides, once Watson reaches the college level, nutrition, and a true strength and conditioning program should put him in an ideal shape.

His massive frame allows him to eat up space in the middle, which is exactly what the Gators need to let their other prospects prosper on the outside. In his 3-4 scheme, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham would be able to use Watson to stuff the run and command double teams up the middle to allow his aggressive play-calling to prosper. 

Watson would surely succeed as a run-stopper and his hand usage is impressive as he is able to toy with opposing offensive lineman to get in the backfield. Watson's favorite move is the swim move, as he is quickly able to gain leverage due to his quick arm movements and size. 

Watson's power is magnificent and he simply uses his strength to go right through any offensive lineman that is tasked with blocking him. His quickness is noticeable, as he is found in the backfield in both run and passing situations. 

The most comparable player to Watson on Florida's current roster would be Tedarrell Slaton, who is also a nose tackle that is very agile for his size as he stands at 6-5, 358 according to the 2019 roster. 

If Watson plays his senior year at Armwood, he should surely rise in the rankings again with no problems. 

These are the type of prospects that the Florida Gators have to retain to stay competitive in the SEC. Rankings aside, Watson is undoubtedly a top prospect in the trenches where the Gators have continued to develop talent and could take the fast track to his commitment thanks to COVID-19.