Since, Kelly, defensive coordinator Bob Diaco, and co-defensive coordinator/cornerbacks coach Kerry Cooks have inked four players that fit their chosen profile, one calling for 6'1" rangy athletes on the perimeter: 2011 three-star Jalen Brown (6'1"), 2012 five-star Tee Shepard (6'0"), 2013 four-star Cole Luke (6'0") and 2013 three-star Devin Butler (6'1").
Luke and Butler have already emerged as contributors, passing Brown in the pecking order as a result. Shepard never played a down in South Bend, transferring before his first spring practice.
The position is no stranger to such attrition as prior to Shepard's departure, the Irish cornerbacks unit lost E.J. Banks (class of 2009) and Spencer Boyd (2010), as well as 2012 five-star pledge turned-de-commit Ronald Darby, as well as Marlon Pollard, a 2008 Irish pledge that de-committed during the Weis era and is currently enrolled at Arizona State.
With four current Irish cornerbacks expected to return to the team next fall and a fifth, senior Lo Wood, eligible for a fifth season, does Notre Dame need to add another in addition to the promising Watkins?
Attrition appears inevitable for the 2014 Irish. At cornerback, at running back, and maybe at quarterback. Watkins' addition fills the class's need at the former, but another defensive back capable of playing cornerback would augment his pledge and help add back end (and special teams) versatility to the current crop.
The 2014 secondary will also include returning safeties Austin Collinsworth (5th), seniors Matthias Farley and Eilar Hardy (both eligible through 2015), juniors Nicky Baratti, Elijah Shumate (2015) and John Turner (2016), and sophomore Max Redfield (2016), with the aforementioned Kinlaw also potentially in the mix.
And defensive linemen (red alert!) and inside linebackers must be added for 2014 (and '15) post-haste.
A second cornerback isn't necessary, but considering the recent machinations of the position at Notre Dame it wouldn't be a surprise if Kelly & Co. court an athlete capable of playing the defensive perimeter as Signing Day 2014 approaches.