GROVETOWN — Darius Watkins will forever be known as the Warriors’ first state champion.
Now, the track and field star holds another title: future Atlantic Coast Conference athlete.
In a room filled with friends and family, Watkins made his college choice official Wednesday, signing to run track at Virginia Tech.
“This is such a blessing,” Watkins said. “I’ve worked so hard these last 18 months and it feels great to have everything pay off.”
Watkins chose Virginia Tech, located in Blacksburg, Va., over Clemson, North Carolina, Louisville and Georgia.
“It’s gonna be a little tough moving (five hours) away but we’ll make it work,” Watkins said. “I love being at home, so I’ll definitely come back a good bit. It’ll probably be hardest on my mom since I’m the first born.”
As a junior, Watkins initially desired to attend Florida.
In the end, however, the Hokies were the unanimous choice.
“I knew I wanted to attend Virginia Tech right after I met sprint coach Charles Foster,” Watkins said. “He’s an unbelievable coach and we hit it off from day one. Also, I went to Florida a couple times last year and it was just too hot for me.”
When asked what made Virginia Tech stand out, Watkins’ answer was simple.
“Everything,” he said. “I took my official visit in October and I couldn’t believe how clean the campus was. There wasn’t a piece of trash anywhere. Also, the buildings are made out of Hokie Stone, which is kinda like limestone. And last, the people and coaches were all great. It’s a perfect fit.”
As a junior at Grovetown last season, Watkins captured the Class AAAAA 200-meter state title, making him the first state champion in school history. Now, with track season approaching, he has no plans of giving up his title.
Earlier this school year, Watkins was honored at a football pep rally with a personalized silver ring, as well as a plaque in the gym to commemorate his 200-meter victory.
“My goal is to repeat in the 200-meter and hopefully win the 100,” he said. “Last year I finished third in the 100-meter but I’d love to win both my senior season.”
Watkins hopes to contribute immediately at the collegiate level.
“I have a lot of work to do but hopefully I’ll be able to compete with some of the upperclassmen right away,” he said. “That’s my goal. Coach Foster recruited me to run the 100-meter, 200-meter, as well as be on the 4x100 relay team. I’m just really excited about the opportunity.”