There is a tantalizing subtext to Dareian Watkins’ commitment to Northwestern Monday: what it means for 2015 Safety/Wide Receiver prospect LaCario Davison. Back when Watkins was still whittling down his list of offers, Davison announced unequivocally his deterministic closed-door stance with the Wildcats. He said he was “dead set” on one day joining Northwestern, and that if Watkins -- Davison’s living partner and, in the most fitting application of an otherwise humorous term, his brother from another mother – were ever to commit to the Wildcats, Davison would feel even more secure about his college future.
I caught up with Davison after Monday’s big news, and sure enough, his opinions haven’t wavered. “Absolutely,” Davison said when asked if Northwestern was still his clear number one school. In the nearly two months since last checking in with Davison, he has visited Northwestern twice, both times with Watkins, and the connection grew stronger and more resolute with each trip. “Coach Fitz is amazing,” he said. “I just love the environment. Everything about it.”
To be absolutely clear: Davison has not received a scholarship offer from Northwestern. The most encouraging aspect of his potential recruitment to the Wildcats to date is casual conversation with Fitzgerald, which typically goes a little something like this: “He [Fitzgerald] just tells me to keep my grades up and keep the good work up,” Davison said. “He said he’d like to have me, but there are no promises.”
The more interesting discourse went down Monday afternoon in the Watkins household, in the immediate aftermath of Watkins’ commitment. Davison and Watkins discussed playing one more year of high school ball together at Galion (Ohio), where Davison believes the Tigers are on the verge of a breakout season. The conversation then turned to college, and Davison and Watkins rejoiced at the thought of “playing another four years together.” And after that? “Maybe we can start a business together or something,” Davison said.
Before Davison begins reeling in offers and honing in on his college choice – he’s already been contacted by Michigan, Michigan State and West Virginia, and listed a top five of Michigan State, Indiana, Louisville, Illinois and, in a class of its own, Northwestern – Davison is working on rehabbing a torn ACL, a project he believes is 80 percent complete. He’s determined to blaze through his rehab by the fall, and Watkins’ workout buddy encouragement will help him get there.
“He’s a great influence on me,” Davison said. “We have to motivate each other to do better.”
At full strength, Davison and Watkins are two near-equal physical specimens – both hovering around 6’2’’, 195 pounds (Davison is 6’3’’) and offering an imposing blend of speed, power and two-way positional flexibility. Davison, like Watkins, says he believes he will be recruited as an “Athlete.” Northwestern will have Watkins on campus, rearing to unleash his athletic talents on an envious Big Ten conference (Watkins held eight non-Nortwestern Big Ten offers), by next fall, and Monday’s news may have pushed Davison even closer towards tagging along.