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The Jacksonville, Fla., to Illinois connection got stronger Saturday with the commitment of Wolfson High School athlete Eric Watts
"I wanted to play big-time football," Watts said. "In the end, I realized Illinois is the best choice for me."
Watts is projected as a strong safety or outside linebacker in college. He is willing to fill whatever position the Illinois coaches ask.
"The coaches are undecided," Watts said. "They say I have tremendous speed and covering ability. I'm also a big-time playmaker, come up and hit runners and make plays."
Having Illinois co-defensive coordinator Dan Disch on the staff helped draw Watts. Disch was a longtime Jacksonville prep coach before joining Ron Zook at Florida and Illinois.
"They are all nice guys and they are all caring guys," Watts said. "I developed trust in the guys. I feel good about everything."
Disch and Zook have been able to bring a string of players from Jacksonville to C-U. Troy Pollard, Donsay Hardeman, A.J. Jenkins and Matt Eller are from Jacksonville. The Illinois roster also includes players from Lakeland, Tampa, Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Watts is rated a three-star recruit by Rivals.com. He picked Illinois over Mississippi, South Florida, Florida State and Indiana.
Watts plans to study business at Illinois.