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One of ESPN's top 20 recruits, Justin Watkins has announced he will join Dan Mullen and the Florida Gators.

ESPN No. 17 recruit Watkins going to Florida

8:38 PM ET

  • Gerry HamiltonESPN Staff Writer

    • National recruiting analyst
    • More than a decade covering recruiting, nationally and in Texas

In the early signing period, Dan Mullen scored a huge win for Florida, signing ESPN 300 quarterback and long-time Ohio State verbal Emory Jones.

On Saturday, the Gators picked up another offensive weapon with the commitment of Under Armour All-America Game receiver Justin Watkins.

COMMITTED!!!!! pic.twitter.com/dtVc6FeHgd

— justin watkins (@laamar_05) January 21, 2018

The nation’s No. 2-ranked athlete, who will return kicks in addition to receiving in Gainesville, previously committed to LSU, Florida State and Texas during the recruiting process. He ultimately decided to stay close to home after his official visit Saturday.

Watkins had originally planned to commit to a school Jan. 4 during the Under Armour All-America Game, but the Dan Mullen hire in Gainesville made Florida a more desirable destination — especially with LSU and Alabama potentially being tight on numbers at the receiver position.

The commitment of Watkins gives the Gators eight ESPN 300 recruits in the class, headlined by Under Armour All-America Game quarterback Jones. Watkins and Jones are joined by ESPN 300 running back prospects Dameon Pierce and Iverson Clement.

The Gators are ascending under Mullen and could possibly close in on a top-10 class, with ESPN 300 offensive tackles Nick Petit-Frere and William Barnes, receiver Jacob Copeland, ESPN 300 defensive end Andrew Chatfield and five-star cornerback Patrick Surtain Jr. among the many uncommitted targets still on the board.

The Gators are also trying to flip a number of committed prospects, including ESPN 300 prospects Coynis Miller Jr., an Auburn commitment, and Miami commitment Nesta Silvera.

Watkins joins transfers Van Jefferson and Trevon Grimes as receivers headed to Florida since Mullen was hired.

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