Anthony Watkins may be the best kept secret in Dallas-Fort Worth.
He was a secret, that is, until Missouri took an interest, offered him on May 16, and garnered his verbal pledge on June 9.
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“There’s a lot of people that missed on Anthony,” South Hills’ first-year head coach Mika Harp said.
The 3-star 2019 athlete is coming off an all-state year in 2017 for FW South Hills.
Watkins rushed for 1,600 yards and 28 touchdowns last season. He also played quarterback, cornerback, safety and returned kicks.
He was voted honorable mention all-state offense by the Associated Press and third-team utility defense by the Texas Sports Writers Association. He was also a Star-Telegram first-team all star.
Watkins was up to 21 offers before he committed to Missouri in June. He also considered Baylor and Texas Tech, and made a summer visit to Oklahoma State.
He continues a pipeline of recent South Hills players to commit to Power Five programs, joining twins Tracin and Tylan Wallace, who graduated in 2016 and committed to Oklahoma State.
“He’s a phenomenal kid,” Harp said.
With his commitment out of the way, Watkins’ full attention is on helping the Scorpions win their third-straight district title... and then some.
“It’s going to be tough, but we’ll take it game-by-game,” Watkins said. “People still underestimate South Hills, but we love it.”
The Scorpions have gone 10-1 with district titles each of the past two seasons, and own a 36-9 record over the past four years.
He and the rest of the Scorpions kicked off the 2018 season on Monday.
“We’re trying to get better every day,” Watkins said. “We’re hitting the weight room this summer and we’re all working hard.”
The transition to Harp’s leadership has been smooth to date, and the new man in charge has been encouraged by what he’s seen.
“I became official in May and the intensity picked up from there,” Harp said. “The kids have worked their tails off. We had one of our better off-seasons to date.”
Harp had spent the past seven years under previous head coach J.J. Resendez, who moved to Crowley.
Under both coaches, the Scorpions put up prolific numbers especially in 2016 when they accounted for 6,000 yards and over 60 points per game. Tracin Wallace was an all-state selection with 52 total touchdowns.
“There’s always going to be transition,” Harp said. “We’ll bring different things to the table. The great thing is the kids already know me – most of them since middle school. They know the expectations.”
“It’s been great and we’ve liked everything he has set up for us,” Watkins added.
South Hills was reclassified into District 3-5A Division I along with Arlington Heights, Azle, Boswell, Brewer, Chisholm Trail, Crowley, Granbury and Saginaw. A dozen starters return, including eight on defense.
The season begins Aug. 31 at Cleburne. Harp will face Resendez on Oct. 19.
South Hills, which hasn’t lost a regular season game since Nov. 6, 2015, will also rely on 2019 WR De’Juan Jones and QB John Vela.
“We’re going to try to make it a three-time thing,” Watkins said.
“Some of the kids were upset because they were with coach Resendez since middle school,” Harp added. “But once they realized it wasn’t the end of the world, we were set to write our own chapter to this thing. It’s like a sequel. It’s a new era.”
What Dave Campbell’s said about South Hills
New coach Harp was promoted from his OC position and he’ll lean on Watkins, a fast-rising prospect at his position. Finding a QB will be key, but there’s experience upfront with Jakobe Baker and Korey Cheeks. The defense is led by Christian Clayton, who’s a force on the defensive line, and LB Joe Weathered, who’s a four-year starter and the heart and soul of the defense.