Hoosiers Hope To Win Over Watkins Again
Bloomington – Indiana's staff won Kenny Watkins over once, and now they're hoping they can do it again. The 6-0, 195-pound cornerback from Bloomfield (Mich.) Brother Rice H.S. will be one of at least eight recruits who be on campus this weekend for his official visit. Watkins originally verballed to IU on June 28, but recently decided to re-open his recruitment and consider other options as well. He's now considering two schools – Indiana and Minnesota. Watkins visited the Gopher program three weeks ago and said he should make a decision within a couple of weeks after his IU visit. "I feel (a decision) will be pretty close," Watkins said. "I don't want to wait around." Indiana thought it had Watkins locked up this summer, but recently learned that both he and his cousin, linebacker Jeremy Gainer, were going to change their commitments to "soft" so they could consider other options. The duo visited Minnesota together and were both offered, and Gainer has been getting interest from a handful of other schools from around the Big Ten as well. The news wasn't necessarily welcomed by the IU staff, but they remain hopeful that this weekend's visit will convince both that the Hoosier program is the right fit. "They don't feel good about (me re-opening my recruitment), and they're still hoping I chose to go there," Watkins said. For that to happen, this weekend's visit is huge. Indiana had plenty of recruiting momentum last summer thanks to last year's Insight Bowl appearance, but now they're having to convince recruits that the program is still on the upswing. "As for what I need to see this weekend, I don't know exactly," Watkins said. "I have to feel Indiana is better for me, the best school for me. That's what it comes down to – if I have that feeling." Watkins said he had a pretty good feeling during his recent trip to Minneapolis to check out Coach Tim Brewster's program. "I went up there and it was real nice," Watkins said. "It kind of shocked me with the new stadium they have coming up. It's a Big Ten school, and they have a real nice program up there." Indiana and Minnesota also appear to be the two places where Watkins and Gainer could play together. Gainer has been attracting additional interest from other Big Ten programs, though, so it's not a guarantee that they'll wind up at the same location. "We want to try to play together," said Watkins, who totaled 70 tackles, two interceptions and 15 passes broken up as a senior. "But if we split up, we'll do what's best for us. But our goal is to try to play together." That's one of the first things that attracted Watkins and Gainer to IU last summer when each committed on the same day. They'll be traveling to Bloomington together again this weekend, and the Hoosier staff is hoping to rekindle some of the same feelings each had over the summer. "Coach (George) Ricumstrict tell me that they still really want me, and they hope that still winds up being my decision," Watkins said.