Why is Jordan Watkins called Big Fella?
It's his size, right? He's 6-foot-5 and 259 pounds.
The true meaning of Watkins' nickname is actually much more cerebral.
"Actually, the name started out having absolutely nothing to do with his size," Watkins' mother, Phyllis Watkins, said. "Jordan is a very bright person, very quick, especially in math and science. He would pick up things so quickly. At first, I started calling him 'Big Brain.' That just sort of evolved into 'Big Fella.'"
The plan worked. Aside from being a standout student, Watkins mastered the violin and piano, and when the school asked him to switch instruments, Watkins agreed to play the bass this year for Woodward's symphony orchestra.
Now it's time for the ESPN four-star defensive tackle (Class of 2012) to a.ssume his next challenge -- college.
"We want him to go somewhere where he can get a balanced education, where he can grow creatively as well as academically," Phyllis Watkins said. "Wherever that place is, that's where we want him to be.
"Of course, we know he wants to play football, so we want to find a place that balances all of that."
Jordan Watkins said Georgia, Miami and Florida are in the forefront of his mind. He's also considering Alabama, Notre Dame, LSU, Oklahoma and Stanford. To no one's surprise, schooling will be a major factor in his decision.
"I know football isn't going to last forever," he said. "I want to make sure I go to a school that will set me up for life after football."
Watkins already has that life planned out. He wants to pursue a career in sports broadcasting. But not just as a former-athlete-turned-analyst. Think more Mike Tirico than Craig James.
"It would be cool to be around sports even if I'm not playing them," said Watkins, who admits to providing play-by-play while he and his friends play video games. "I thought broadcasting would be a good way to go."
Which is why the Bulldogs, Gators and Hurricanes have topped the list.
Watkins said he likes the journalism school in Athens, calling it one of the best in the country. He and his family have also grown close to defensive line coach Rodney Garner.
However, there is a real concern. Coach Mark Richt's job security has been a very public issue. If there's a coaching change, those relationships will be lost.
"I'm hoping Coach Richt has a good year," said Watkins, who plans to announce his decision after his senior season.
Then, there's Florida. Watkins toured the Gainesville campus recently and was impressed by the broadcasting school that showcases various alums, including ESPN personalities Erin Andrews and Andy North, among others.
"I was greatly impressed by all the resources they have," Watkins said.
As for Miami, it has an emotional pull. Watkins' cousin, Houston Texans receiver Andre Johnson, played for Miami from 1999 to 2002. Even though the two aren't close, Watkins feels a connection to the school and the area because of family members who live nearby.
There is also the advantage of being close to one of the largest cities in the country -- a nice bonus for a budding young broadcaster. Football, however, is a bit of a concern after a recent coaching change and nearly a decade of struggles.
"I know they've had struggles here and there … but I've been following coach Al Golden and what he's been doing, cleaning house a little bit," Watkins said of the first-year Miami coach. "He's been bringing back all the alumni players … He brings a feel that Miami is about to do something again and be a national powerhouse like Miami was before."
Distance from home doesn't seem to be a factor for the Watkins family whatsoever.
"If Air Tran and Delta can get there, we're fine," Phyllis Watkins said with a chuckle.
Jordan Watkins will take his time this fall to evaluate his suitors on and off the field. With one coach on the hot seat and two schools having undergone recent coaching changes, performance will be key.
Watkins will -- no doubt -- make an informed decision.
"We wanted a well-rounded person," Phyllis Watkins said. "We wanted a good person who could play football, not just a football player."
They got it.