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Notre Dame Football: Xavier Watt’s return to the Irish in 2024 is a massive win

Good vibes continue

Notre Dame v Stanford Photo by Brandon Sloter/Image Of Sport/Getty Images

The Sun Bowl was nothing but good vibes for Notre Dame and the football program, and coming out of that good time was an announcement from safety Xavier Watts — he’s returning to play football for the Irish in 2024.

First of all... I have to give that big cowboy hat tip to the Notre Dame media crew for the video (and for continuing the fantastic use of Dead or Alive).

Second of all... this is fantastic news for Notre Dame. With the departures of D.J. Brown and Thomas Harper to the NFL Draft and Ramon Henderson in the transfer portal, the Irish safety room really needed Watt’s experience in 2024. And by the way — this is now the returning Bednarik Award winner, so having the best defensive player in college football on the roster gives a huge bolt of confidence in Notre Dame’s future.

We saw the Irish defense dominate in the Sun Bowl thanks in large part to so many starting players from the 2023 season playing in the game. Below was the final depth chart before the Sun Bowl, and as you can see, the Irish will return most of what they had. Even a departure like that of Javontae Jean-Baptiste will have a replacement of Duke transfer, RJ Oben. If the Irish also hold onto Al Golden for one more year — we are cooking with nuclear fuel (whatever that looks like).

2023 ND DEFENSE DEPTH CHART

VYPER DT DT SDE WILL MIKE ROVER CB LS RS CB
VYPER DT DT SDE WILL MIKE ROVER CB LS RS CB
12 Jordan Botelho 56 Howard Cross 99 Rylie Mills 1 Javontae Jean-Baptiste 24 Jack Kiser 27 J.D. Bertrand 3 Jaylen Sneed 7 Jayden Mickey 2 D.J. Brown 0 Xavier Watts 20 Ben Morrison
44 Junior Tuihalamaka 97 Gabe Rubio 47 Jason Onye 40 Josh Burnham 23 Jaiden Ausberry 34 Drayk Bowen 24 Jack Kiser 29 Christian Gray 21 Adon Shuler 31 Ben Minich 6 Clarence Lewis
51 Boubacar Traore 41 Donovan Hinish 41 Donovan Hinish 51 Boubacar Traore - - - - - - OR 18 Chance Tucker

So hell yeah. This is a massive win for Notre Dame. Xavier Watts just won the award for the best defensive player of the year, and would likely test very very well at the NFL Combine, and he’s choosing to come back for another season under the Golden Dome.

NICE!