<center>Former BYFA Player To Play College Football At Tiffin</center>
Buckeye's Carlton Watkins Heads To Tiffin
From the GAZETTE, by Dan Brown.
YORK TWP. — It’s not unusual for Carlton Watkins to miss a call on his cell phone. This call, however, was his future. Inching closer and closer to committing to Division III John Carroll University, the Buckeye High standout got a call that changed everything. “The night before my overnight to John Carroll, I got a call back from Tiffin,” Watkins said. “It was one of their coaches and they had just got done with a spring practice and he said they needed a receiver.”
The chance to play at the Division II level and join former teammate Austin Friel and Gazette boys track MVP — and cousin — Malik Tuck of Medina was too good to pass up, so Watkins made his commitment to play football and compete in track for Tiffin. “It caught me off guard,” Watkins said of the phone call. “I was actually golfing when I saw the missed call and got a message to give them a call. I couldn’t believe it. I thought someone was messing with me. They told me that going D-III, I was limiting myself. You can go a higher level and earn a scholarship.”
Those words were enough to sell the 5-foot-10, 170 pound wide receiver on the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference program, which is looking for a fresh start after a 1-10, 0-10 campaign. While Watkins didn’t know he was going to find himself on the western side of the state with his former quarterback, Friel seemed to know something else. “After I got the call, I called Austin and I told him, ‘You will never believe who called,’” Watkins said. “The crazy thing is, I never said anything and Austin already knew I was going and put my name down for housing. He just knew.” Selling Watkins the most was the fact he will be paying about $4,000 less at the D-II school, with the possibility of earning scholarship money his second year. Add in that Tiffin has one of the best criminal justice programs around and the former Buck is happy to be a Dragon.
“I had it settled with John Carroll and it was going to cost $7,000 to go there, so I thought, ‘Why not try some other schools,’” Watkins said. “Tiffin is great for two-sport athletes, and their criminal justice program is top five in the country, so it’s really a go academic-wise, and that’s why I want to go to college. To play football, too, that’s just a plus.” Tiffin runs a spread offense with four wide receivers, a system Watkins is familiar with, as Buckeye ran a hybrid of that offense last fall. “The opportunity is great to get in there this year,” said Watkins, who also was looking at Westminster (Pa.), Thiel (Pa.) and Notre Dame of Ohio. “All I have to do is show them what I can do. It’s in my hands.
“You’re going to get a chance with four wide, because they will be using their receivers every play. That’s where my chance comes in.” Watkins had spoken to the school’s track program just weeks after breaking the Buckeye school record in the high jump with a leap of 6 feet, 6 inches at the Ernie Moore Invitational in Doylestown. He knows that doing both sports at the collegiate level is a challenge, but with friends Friel and Tuck by his side and the confidence that helped him earn accolades in both sports at the prep level, Watkins is ready for the next test.
“It worked out good,” he said. “I’m going down there with two guys that I’m really close to, and after meeting the (football) team, I got real comfortable with them and they welcomed me with open arms. “Every school I talked to, I talked about doing both sports. The way I see it, why not? You only live once.” -- Contact Dan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.