Watkins talks Irish commitment

Cornerback Nick Watkins of Dallas (Texas) Bishop Dunne talks about his commitment to Notre Dame, including who the Irish beat out for his pledge.

For cornerback Nick Watkins of Dallas (Texas) Bishop Dunne, a big part of why he chose Notre Dame was the connection he has with Irish cornerbacks coach Kerry Cooks.

"It basically came down to my relationship with Coach Cooks," Watkins said. "He is a great person and we have a great relationship. Notre Dame is a great place, and it's great for football, education, and everything else."

Watkins committed to Notre Dame last Friday.

"I probably had my mind made up that Wednesday or Thursday," Watkins said. "I called Coach Cooks and let him know on Thursday night. He told me that I made his day and he was excited to coach me. I called Coach Kelly on Friday morning, and he said he's ready for me to come in and help win championships."

Watkins also emphasized playing time throughout his recruitment, and that played a role in his commitment.

"Definitely," Watkins said when asked if the opportunity to receive early playing time played a role in his decision. "That was definitely part of it."

Watkins said the finalists in his decision were Alabama, Baylor, Oregon, UCLA and USC. He was not seriously considering Texas, however, at the time of his commitment.

"Everyone down here kept saying that I was going to Texas, but that was all talk and hype," Watkins said. "I wanted to play for Texas when I was younger, but now that I'm older, I realize it's not a good fit. When I got down to it, that's not where I wanted to go."

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound corner said he almost committed to Notre Dame after his official visit two weeks ago for the USC game.

"It crossed my mind," Watkins said. "But, I talked with my dad and he said to think about it a little bit longer because it's such a big decision. My parents are both excited for me."

Notre Dame is also being considered highly by Watkins' teammate, safety Payton Hendrix.

"I talked to him about it," Watkins said. "He likes Notre Dame a lot, but he's got a lot of options, too."

Bishop Dunne fell to 38-24 Friday night in the playoffs to Trinity Christian. Watkins said despite the loss, his weekend improved when he watched the Irish pull out the victory against Navy.

"I'm glad they pulled it out," Watkins said. "The offense was clicking. Man, I hate playing against the option. All it is cut blocks, and it's horrible."

Watkins said he doesn't have any other visits currently on his plate.

"Not that I know of," he said.

Watkins is a four-star prospect and is ranked as the No. 12 cornerback in the class of 2014.

IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories