Incoming Irish: Nick Watkins

Nick Watkins likes to let his play speak for him. That might be a novelty when you compare it to the prominent cornerbacks in football today, but Watkins prefers to focus on the game rather than go back and forth jawing with receivers.

That attitude makes it even more surprising that out of all the NFL corners, he compares himself to Seattle All Pro Richard Sherman. But Notre Dame fans should expect to see similarities to Sherman's on field prowess rather than his occasional lapses into wrestling villain territory.

"I would compare myself to Richard Sherman but I let my play do the taking," Watkins said. "I have great instincts and they help me make great plays."

While he mightn't share Sherman's ignitable demeanor when it comes to trash talking, he does carry himself with the same kind of confidence. Although the six foot one, 188-pound Texan from Bishop Dunne HS is coming in as a freshman, the coaches don't plan on redshirting him and Watkins has high hopes for this season.

"I set high goals because if you don't, you are just limiting yourself," Watkins said. "I want to be a freshman All-American. I know it is ambitious but that is what I am going for."

His ambitions aren't limited to individual accolades, and he says the ultimate goal of a national championship is what brought him to Notre Dame. Despite having offers from numerous powerhouses, including Alabama, Watkins thought coming to South Bend would give him the best chance to win.

"I just couldn't see myself playing at Alabama but I could see myself at Notre Dame," Watkins said. "We have Everett (Golson) coming back this year and he was great two years ago. I think we will have more success than they will."

While Watkins is very confident about both his and his team's prospects, he does have a small bit of nerves. After all, he still is an 18-year-old kid moving a long way from home and he will be coming up against players far greater than any he has previously faced. But Watkins thinks that after a brief period of settling in, he will make the transition nicely.

"Moving away from your family is a part of life and something you do as you get older," Watkins said. "Everybody gets nervous when they are making a big step up like this but once I get acclimated to the competition I will be fine and I am really excited."

Watkins can't single out just one thing he is excited about in coming to Notre Dame but rather a myriad: working with Coach (Kerry) Cooks, going up against defending champions Florida St and meeting his new teammates. But he is also excited about the future and how playing and getting an education at Notre Dame can change his life.

"Coming to Notre Dame is a 40- or 50-year decision," Watkins said. "Graduating from here can set you up for the rest of your life because the university has so many connections."

So much gets written about 18-year-old football players that it's easy to forget they are kids who have hobbies outside of the game. For Watkins it's watching movies and when asked to give his top three of all time, well, it's safe to say that he didn't just pick the first three movies from IMDB.

"If I had to choose my top three of all time I would probably go with Batman, The Breakfast Club and Grease," Watkins said.

The 70s musical might not be on everyone's movie Mount Rushmore, but Watkins stands by Grease and thinks the movie's quality justifies his bold selection.

"Man, Grease is a good movie," Watkins said with a laugh.

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