Notre Dame picked up a key part of its 2020 offensive class today when receiver Xavier Watts pledged to the Irish. Rumor held for some time that the 6’1”, 185-pound Nebraskan was an Irish lean; some late buzz for the hometown Huskers surfaced but quickly dissipated. He showed early interest in Michigan too, who pursued him heavily even after AJ Henning’s commitment. Ultimately, the priority treatment the Notre Dame staff has been giving Xavier for the past few months earned the Irish his pledge.
— Xavier Watts (@xavierwatts6) July 5, 2019
Recruiting Service Rankings
247Sports Composite — 3 star (.8777), #487 overall, #86 WR, #2 in NE
247Sports — 3 star (89 rating), #413 overall, #77 WR, #2 in NE
Rivals — 3 star (5.6 rating), NR overall, #94 WR, #2 in NE
ESPN — 4 star (80 rating), NR overall, #67 WR, #2 in NE
Irish Sports Daily — 4 star (91 rating)
In addition to Notre Dame, Michigan, and Nebraska, Xavier Watts holds offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas State, Northwestern, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, among others.
Obviously, with Xavier living in Nebraska, his level of competition in high school is less than stellar. But there is a LOT to like about his highlights. Xavier is far too good of an athlete for it to be fair for opposing defensive backs at this level, and I’m going to point out a few clips in particular that should get you excited to see Xavier suit up for the Irish.
00:11 — Xavier runs a simple slant over the middle. He catches the ball, and hits the jets, leaving half the defense in a cloud of dust.
00:48 — Xavier catches a screen pass and shows how elusive he can be. He completely jukes out two defenders, breaks a tackle, and then beats the safety to the pylon for a touchdown.
01:25 — Xavier runs a beautiful stutter-and-go route, the corner bites, and Xavier blows right by him for an easy score.
01:45 — Playing safety, Xavier reads the QB like a book and jumps the receiver’s route, taking it back for an easy pick-six. Obviously Xavier was recruited to Notre Dame to play on offense, but this play shows great football instincts.
02:15 — Xavier blows past the defense and makes a catch that’s much more difficult than it looks in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. Great concentration on this play.
06:43 — Just a simple comeback route. The QB throws the ball a bit high and Xavier brings the ball down despite taking a hit right as the ball arrives.
Xavier is clearly a very smooth athlete based on his film and he seems to move so effortlessly. He’s been a top priority for BK and Co. for the past few months, and it’s pretty easy to see why the Notre Dame staff holds him in such high regard.
Xavier Watts has all the tools to be a contributor at Notre Dame early on. In addition to being a very good wide receiver, he’s also just a heck of a football player in general. He’ll likely have an early opportunity for playing time on special teams — maybe covering kicks or as a gunner on the punt team. There will be a bit of a logjam on the depth chart at wide receiver, but Xavier possesses all the traits necessary to grow at that position and become a starting player for the Irish down the road.
Welcome to the Irish family, Xavier!