Coach Brian Kelly received his 18th verbal commitment for the 2014 class today from Nick Watkins (Dallas, TX - Bishop Dunne). He is listed at 6'1"/185 lbs and runs a 4.50 sec 40 yard dash.
Watkins visited the Irish for the USC game in October, two weeks after seeing Notre Dame defeat Arizona State in Dallas. He has been considered a strong ND lean since visiting in the spring. He holds 25 offers from across the country including Texas, Alabama, Michigan, Florida State and UCLA.
Recruiting Service Rankings:
ESPN - 4 star (#11 CB, #11 TX), 84 Grade (#79 Overall)
Rivals - 4 star (#11 CB, #19 TX), 5.8 Grade (#160 Overall)
Scout - 4 star (#12 CB), #120 Overall
247Sports - 4 star (#20 CB, #29 TX), 90 Grade
247Sports Composite Score - 4 star (0.9448), #113 Overall (#11 CB, #17 TX)
Bishop Dunne (Dallas, TX) Nick Watkins - WR-DB #6 (via Maxprepssports)
Nick Watkins 2014 DB/WR (Dallas, TX) JR Highlights (via 247SportsStudio)
Given the amount of playing time that freshman corners Cole Luke and Devin Butler have seen already this fall, it isn't difficult to imagine Watkins stepping into a similar role in 2014. With the loss of Bennett Jackson due to graduation after this season, a spot in the two deep will open up. Assuming he has a good summer and fall camp, fans shouldn't be surprised to see him earn snaps as the season progresses. He should be an immediate contributor on all special teams units regardless.
Watkins fits the ideal corner profile that the staff looks for physically. He will need to add ~15 pounds to get to a better playing weight and play the physical brand of football typically seen from the Irish secondary. His highlights show him playing a lot of wide receiver at the prep level-training that can only help prepare him to be a top corner at the next level. In some of the defensive highlights, he does an excellent job of reading the quarterback and coming off his man to undercut routes in zone schemes.
Overall, he is an excellent prospect for DC Bob Diaco to incorporate into his defensive scheme. He will need to learn some of the finer points required of the position at the collegiate level, but has all the tools to be highly successful.
Welcome to Notre Dame Nick!