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Sunday, April 21, 2013
Watkins not ready to leave Michigan State

By Jared Shanker

With two commitments, Mark Dantonio was already having a pretty good weekend. The Michigan State coach would have had a great one if he landed one more important piece.

Galion (Ohio) High School athlete Dareian Watkins did not commit, but he wasn’t exactly ready to leave Michigan State when it came time to head home.

“He was asking me if we could stay a second night,” Watkins’ father, Heath said. They arrived at Michigan State on Friday and left following Saturday’s spring game.

There was no pressure from Dantonio on Watkins, though. He told the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Watkins that Michigan State would find room for him no matter when Watkins makes a decision. Originally, Watkins was planning an early May commitment but has since pushed it back at least a few weeks.

The Spartans are recruiting Watkins as a receiver, but they plan on taking only one or two receivers in the class. So if they fill up at receiver, Dantonio will switch the offer to defensive back.

“He said ‘Your offer stands with us and we’d take your commitment today or any time,’ ” Heath said of their conversation with Dantonio.

It was Watkins’ third visit to East Lansing, but his first time spending extensive time with current Spartans players. His first two visits were for a football and basketball game, respectively. This weekend, Watkins slept at the dorms Friday and hung out with Mark Meyers and Ezra Robinson.

What also made this third visit unique is that Watkins even got a little coaching. He went into the film room with receivers coach Terrance Samuel and broke down some routes and different techniques. Mostly a quarterback in Galion’s offense, when Watkins does go to receiver it’s usually just to use athleticism to make a big play on the outside. Samuel taught him some of the finer points of the position.

“They went over some technique, and that was interesting because I think he learned some stuff,” Watkins said. “It’s the first place he’s gone and he’s been taught stuff.”

Watkins plans to visit Wisconsin on May 11 and stop by Northwestern following the trip.

Penn State rounds out Watkins’ top group, but the Nittany Lions are in a trailing position after only offering recently. Watkins wants to visit State College, but nothing is set in stone.

Heath and Watkins’ mother wanted to take a closer look at Penn State after the Lions offered.

“He doesn’t know much about Penn State. It’s the one on the table he’s looking at and never been to,” Heath said. “His mother and I suggested he take a look at Penn State because the academics and how strong they are. They’re close with Northwestern and we didn’t know that.

“But he probably wouldn’t have much to say [about Penn State] because he doesn't know.”