One of SMU's top targets in the Class of 2014 is without a doubt four-star cornerback Nick Watkins.
And he showed why on Monday afternoon when his Bishop Dunne team had a joint practice with Dallas First Baptist.
Watkins spent most of the day covering Purdue commit Trae Hart but was able to make an array of plays including a leaping one-handed interception that drew some applause from teammates.
"It was a great experience. I'm looking forward to competing with Trae all week," he said. "We are definitely rusty, but we are going to get there. We've got Peyton (Hendrix) and Ronnie (Larue) now and of course, Jovan (Pruitt) so we're going to get there."
While the Falcons look poised for a successful season, Watkins knows he must balance football with recruiting. The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder is up to 29 offers but says he doesn't plan on narrowing it down anytime soon.
"I'm just taking it really slow," he said. "I'm just relying on my research and the visits I can take. I just want look at what everybody has to offer and continue to take things really slow."
But one unlikely school that truly has sparked his interest is SMU. Although the Mustangs are not a major BCS program, Watkins says there is plenty to like about his hometown program.
"My interest level in SMU is definitely high. They're on the up and up. They are moving to a bigger conference so that makes a difference, and I think they can make some noise," he said. "The campus is nice, and it's close to home so like I said, I'm interested in them."
In fact, Watkins has been on the Hilltop twice this spring. In February he visited for junior day and just last month, he got to see SMU's spring game.
"It was definitely a great visit. It was a pretty laid back experience," Watkins said. "You've got the fans and stuff, but it was a really laid back type of practice, which I really liked. Overall, it was a good experience to see everything up front."
Watkins spent most of his time observing the secondary and taking mental notes on the style of defensive backs coach Derrick Odum, who was supposed to be at the joint practice on Monday but did not make it.
"Coach Odum is a great coach. From what I saw at the spring game, he's a great teacher and focuses on fundamentals," he said. "I have a good relationship with him but haven't talked to him lately. I was going to try to call him, but I've been busy with finals and practice."
Watkins says he may visit SMU again this summer and hopes to make it to Alabama, Ole Miss, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.
OL Jovan Pruitt: "I like their tempo up there. I like getting 30 snaps in five minutes, and they were doing that at the spring game. I like SMU, but I haven't talked to Coach Odum lately. I was really expecting to hear from him so I'm going to call him soon."
DB Payton Hendrix: "SMU has been in contact with me since the beginning of my junior year so I was happy they finally pulled the trigger on me. I haven't focused on what school I'm going to go to, but I really like SMU."
DB Ronnie LaRue: "I haven't heard from Coach Odum directly, but my coach talks to him, and he said they still really like me and everything. I'm the only one of us four that hasn't gotten offered so I'm hoping that SMU offer comes soon."
4-Star Cornerback Still Considering SMU
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