Profile, including junior and sophomore film: Nick Watkins
Location: Dallas (Texas) Bishop Dunne
Weight: 190 pounds
Rank: Four-star, No. 12 cornerback in 2014
Player analysis from FOX Sports NEXT national recruiting analyst Greg Powers:
Watkins is a do it all for his team, but his future will be on the defensive side of the ball in the defensive backfield at Notre Dame.
He is a coverage style corner with excellent size. He has long arms and is very rangy. His best attribute is his straight line speed (clocked a 22.9 in the 200-meter and 51-second lap in the 4x4 relay). Taking his size and speed in to account he has the ability to be a special player in college. He will continue to develop and get better as a pure cover corner as he gains critical experience and college level coaching and training.
He is the type of player in high school that you can match up with the other team’s best receiver. In one game this season, he matched up with Dallas (Texas) Lincoln wide receiver Emanuel Porter and held him to one catch, verifying this statement.
He will need to be more aggressive in coming up to stop the run and making tackles in college. He could be described as more of a finesse corner right now, but has made improvements in that aspect of his game with his play as a senior.
Recruiting recap and implications:
Watkins chose Notre Dame over finalists Alabama, Baylor, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas UCLA and USC. The Irish need to secure only one cornerback in the 2014 class, after taking in the 2013 class. Watkins has been Notre Dame's No. 1 cornerback target since the spring of 2013. Currently, Notre Dame is not high on the radar for any other cornerbacks in the 2014 class, and indications point to Notre Dame being content with just signing Watkins.
Watkins first earned his offer from Notre Dame in May of 2012. Prior to receiving his offer from the Irish, he had reeled in offers from the likes of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Ohio State, Texas A&M.
Watkins first visited Notre Dame in April of 2013. He primarily hung out with fellow Texan and freshman wide receiver Corey Robinson as well as cornerbacks Bennett Jackson and Keivarae Russell. Watkins admitted he was close to committing to Notre Dame shortly thereafter, but adhering to the advice of his father, he decided to take more time to weigh all of his options.
His only visit this past summer was to Alabama, and his only official visit was to Notre Dame (USC game).
"You graduate with a diploma from Notre Dame, you're set for life. I mean, football's not forever. Their main thing is, what are you going to do after football? After you retire? Or if something happens to you and you can't play at all anymore? They want you to get a great education so you are set no matter what."
"Man, Coach Kelly, he's a real cool dude. He's a players coach. He listens to what the players have to say and what they players need to make their time at Notre Dame the best. He takes care of you on and off the field, which tells me he cares about you not only as a player, but as a person."
"I picked the pass off with about 12 seconds left. They threw it up to their go-to guy, Emmanuel Parker, and I went up at its highest point and picked it. It felt good to secure the [42-41] win for us."
"Coach Kelly was mainly telling me how Notre Dame is a place I can go to be successful. Coach Cooks was saying the same thing. He said he would take care of us. Going to Notre Dame is a life-changing decision that will set you up for the next 40 to 50 years of your life."
"Winning is definitely a big deal for me. Everybody wants the chance to play for a national championship. They're going to the playoff system next year and every team will be fighting for one of those four slots. It's going to give everyone a chance to win the national championship now."
What this means for Notre Dame:
Short term: Gaining a commitment from Nick Watkins pretty much ends Notre Dame's recruitment of corners for this recruiting cycle, barring something unexpected. Notre Dame is still eyeing two safeties, five-star Juju Smith (who could potentially play wide out) and four-star Payton Hendrix, who is Watkins' teammate at Bishop Dunne. Hendrix has said in previous interviews with IrishEyes.com that playing with Watkins in college is something that he's considering when choosing a school. Hendrix took his official to Notre Dame the same time Watkins did two weeks ago, and he currently does not have any other visits scheduled. The biggest competition for Hendrix seems to be Arkansas, Texas Tech, Wake Forest, Utah... and Oklahoma should the Sooners offer. It is my belief that it's only a matter of time before Hendrix commits to Notre Dame, and the only hold up is a potential offer from Oklahoma.
Watkins is Notre Dame's 18th commitment (17th sans Isaiah McKenzie, whose commitment has not officially been recognized by staff and will not be until test scores are up to par).
IrishEyes.com expects Notre Dame to take at least five more commitments in this class.
Link to top defensive prospects, including where the Irish will likely add on D: Click here
Link to top offensive prospects, including where the Irish will likely add on O: Click here
Link to list of commitments: Click here
Notre Dame has also offered 2015 four-star defensive tackle Darrion Daniels of Bishop Dunne. He also has offers from Arizona State, Baylor, Oklahoma and Texas Tech.
2014 Corner Depth Chart:
Senior Lo Wood
Junior KeiVarae Russell
Sophomore Devin Butler
Sophomore Cole Luke
Redshirt sophomore Rashad Kinlaw (safety prospect as well)