Florida freshman Justin Watkins leaves team following domestic battery arrest

By Adam Silverstein
July 27, 2018
Florida freshman Justin Watkins leaves team following domestic battery arrest
Football

Image Credit: @GatorsFB/Twitter

Just days after being arrested for felony domestic battery and being suspended indefinitely by the program, four-star freshman Justin Watkins announced on Twitter that he is moving on from Florida Gators football.

Watkins was in custody this week facing four charges, including a pair of third-degree felonies for domestic battery by strangulation and kidnapping-false imprisonment of an adult as well as two first-degree misdemeanor battery charges.

“I will be leaving the university of Florida to better my opportunities,” he wrote Friday morning.

The arrest this week was Watkins’ second such incident in the last three months.

According to the arrest report, Watkins is accused of “intentionally striking [a woman] with an open and closed fist on both sides of her head as well as on her shoulders while he was holding her down on the bed.” He then allegedly straddled the woman while pinning her to the bed again before “wrapp[ing] his hands around [her] throat with both hands, blocking her airway and impeding breathing. Watkins blocked her airway for about 15 seconds, causing a potential for harm. Watkins repeated to block the airway twice more for periods of approximately 8 seconds.”

The woman, with whom Watkins was in an intimate relationship since December 2017, was known to have asthma. The incident took place in Watkins’ Keys Residence dorm room last Friday.

When the woman attempted to leave following Watkins’ actions, he allegedly “confined [her] in his dorm room by standing in the doorway and blocking the exit” and even “grabbed her hair and belt, yanking her back into the room” while she pleaded with him to let her depart. This led to the woman spraying Watkins with mace and escaping the room. Watkins allegedly pursued, “chas[ing] her out the door and down the stairs” before “throw[ing] a hard wooden brush … as well as a container of hair grease” that caused bleeding and swelling on her hands.

Photographs of the injuries taken on Monday, three days after the incident, showed marks that were “consistent with [the woman’s] statement.” Watkins spent three days in jail before posting $40,000 bond. There is a standing no contact order with the victim.

Back in May, a couple months after signing his National Letter of Intent with Florida, Watkins was arrested for trespassing on school grounds following a verbal altercation with a woman that allegedly included destruction of property.

At the time, head coach Dan Mullen noted he was “aware of the incident” and “collecting information.” No punishment was ever announced for Watkins as this occurred after spring practice and the player was not yet enrolled at Florida. Watkins enrolled in the Summer B semester and formally joined the Gators. Mullen announced Watkins’ suspension “from all team activities” in a Tuesday statement.

Ranked as the 89th best player in the nation and Florida’s fourth-highest rated commitment in the Class of 2018, Watkins was expected to join the Gators as a wide receiver but might have begun his career in the secondary due to an immediate need at the cornerback position.

3 Comments

  1. Joe says:

    Is this really a situation where he did this on his own or was he “influenced” to seek a better opportunity?

  2. L.D. Mc Donald says:

    When will these idiots ever get their head out of their ass? Full ride college education and all the bennies….and they continue to f-it up! Foolish and selfish actions that hurt the team and the reputation of the College their “suppose” to represent. Don’t know where this guy thinks he will ever get a better “opportunity” anywhere in the U.S.?

  3. G2 says:

    Look for him to surface at Auburn in a couple of years

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