Klein Forest WR Jelani Watkins: blazing speed, laser focus
Klein Forest WR Jelani Watkins. Photo by Jimmie Aggison.

Klein Forest junior wide receiver and track star Jelani Watkins is arguably one of the fastest high school prospects in the state and possibly the nation at top speed.

The kid from New Orleans made a name for himself at the 2021 UIL State Track Meet when he finished the final leg of the 4×100-meter championship, securing upset gold over track powerhouse Duncanville.  In addition to the 4×200-meter, Watkins also runs the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, and 4×100-meter relays.

Jelani Watkins (right). Photo by Jimmie Aggison.

On the football field, Watkins is must-see television with the ball in his hands.  Whether he is going deep for a streak, catching a screen pass or running out of the backfield, Watkins will give defensive coordinators nightmares.

The Defender spoke with Watkins to discuss his breakaway track speed, how it translates to football, advice to others, and more.

Style of Play

“More like Tyreek Hill and Odell Beckham Jr. Fast and shifty.”

Keys to Success

“We have to buy into what the coaches are telling us and the plays they’re putting in.  We just have to do our jobs and give the next man a chance to score.”

Track & Football Crossover

“Track gets you practice for football.  And I am really big on that.  It gets me right so I can translate it to the field.”

Deciding Factors on Colleges

“Whoever gives me the best opportunity to get the best education and help me develop as a player.”

Advice to Others

“Anything you put your mind to you can do it.  And if anybody tries to tell you that you can’t do it they lied to you because if you put your heart and your mind to it you can do anything you want to do.”

Jelani Watkins. Photo by Jimmie Aggison.

About Jelani Watkins

Instagram: @laaared_

Athletes he studies: Justin Jefferson, Jamar Chase, Stephon Diggs and Usain Bolt

Favorite musician: NBA Youngboy

Hobbies: Playing Madden and NBA2K on PS5

Shout-outs: “My momma and my brother”