Florida freshman Justin Watkins suspended after second arrest in 3 months

Florida freshman Justin Watkins was arrested on multiple charges. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Florida freshman Justin Watkins was arrested on multiple charges. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Florida receiver Justin Watkins is facing charges for the second time in three months.

Watkins, a freshman receiver for the Gators who signed with the program as part of Dan Mullen’s first recruiting class, was booked into Alachua County (Fla.) Jail on Tuesday. Court records show Watkins is facing four charges: kidnapping/false imprisonment, domestic battery by strangulation and two misdemeanor battery charges. The first two charges are felonies.

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Mullen has suspended Watkins from all team activities.

Justin Watkins was previously arrested in May

Before he even arrived on campus, Watkins was in the news for an off-the-field transgression. In May, the 19-year-old was arrested for trespassing in an incident where he was accused of breaking a woman’s cell phone and kicking her car following an argument.

A probable cause affidavit obtained by the Tampa Bay Times offered details on the alleged incident:

Watkins took her cell phone, left and later threw it on the ground, shattering its screen. Watkins followed the female to the student parking lot at a Marion County high school. He then kicked her car and tried to let air out of the tires — an action confirmed by the school’s video surveillance.

Because Watkins was not a student at the unnamed high school, he was arrested Tuesday afternoon on a misdemeanor complaint of trespassing on school grounds.

Watkins was one of Florida’s top recruits in the 2018 class

After coming over to UF from Mississippi State, Mullen assembled a top 20 recruiting class for 2018. Watkins was one of eight members of the Rivals Top 250 to sign with the Gators. A four-star recruit, Watkins came in at No. 187 nationally.

He arrived on campus in Gainesville in June and is listed as an athlete on the team’s roster. The 5-foot-11, 172-pound Watkins played wide receiver, running back and defensive back during his high school career.

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