Unlike height, weight, forty times and bench press, leadership cannot be precisely measured. Yet, of all the intangibles that make a difference in college football, leadership may be the most significant. Coaches look for it and players rely upon it. Last week Irish Sports Daily spoke to a 2014 recruit who not only brings the measurable but also the intangibles, especially leadership. ISD also caught up with a highly coveted 2015 prospect that they hope will someday be wearing the blue and gold. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Sports Daily?
Nick Watkins, CB, 6-0, 180, Bishop Dunne Catholic School, Dallas, TX is a man on a mission this season and it’s not picking a college destination. Watkins wants to help his team improve on last season’s disappointing 4-7 record and so far the Falcons are off to a good start. They defeated Eastern Hills 43-12 in their opening game of the season. The talented cornerback talked about his role on this year’s team.
“Since I’m a senior I have to be a leader,” he said. “You have to let these younger guys know not to let your emotions get the best of you. When you don’t stay focused, that’s when you make mistakes. You try to show these guys how to play loose and not get too uptight. If you get too wound up you don’t move fluidly so everything has to be perfect balance and you have to remain calm, cool and collected.”
Watkins (pictured) currently holds around thirty scholarship offers and his leadership ability has undoubtedly played a role in his heavy recruitment. Watkins, though, is much more focused on his senior season, preferring to let recruiting take care of itself.
“Recruiting’s still going really good and I’m really enjoying the process so far,” he explained. “To tell you the truth, I really don’t get caught up in all this recruiting stuff. I’m extremely blessed with all the offers I have and when it comes time to make my decision, I’ll choose a school that fits me the best.”
Notre Dame certainly hopes that they’re that school. Watkins has the Irish at or near the top of his list and has planned his official visit to South Bend on October 19 for the USC game.
“I’m looking forward to finally seeing a game at Notre Dame and the entire atmosphere around it,” he shared. “On my last visit I saw everything else, but now I’ll get the chance to see what the team looks like this year. I’ll be coming up with my teammate (Payton Hendrix), so I’ve no doubt this is going to be a great visit.”
Hendrix, a 6-3, 190 safety prospect recently received a Notre Dame offer and immediately reached out to Watkins to get some information on the Irish.
“Payton and I’ve had a chance to talk about Notre Dame a bit and he’s asked me some questions about my visit up there,” Watkins told ISD. “I told him it was a great trip and everything about the campus is beautiful.”
While Watkins has been very clear throughout the recruiting process that Notre Dame is one of his top schools, he’s not in any hurry to make a decision.
“I really haven’t thought about when I want to make my choice,” he stated. “I really think I am going to take all my official visits first and then sit down with my parents before making my decision.”
The Irish certainly hope that his decision will land him in the blue and gold.
Even though it would be nearly two yeas before he would arrive on campus, Notre Dame also hopes that Jashon Cornell will also choose to spend his four years of college football in South Bend. Cornell, LB/DE, 6-4, 230, Cretin-Derham Hall, St. Paul, MN is one of the highest rated recruits in the class of 2015 and he has consistently ranked Notre Dame near the top of his potential destinations. The chief competitor for Cornell’s signature is likely Michigan and the Wolverines hosted the talented 2015 prospect for the Notre Dame game. Ironically, current Irish player Steve Elmer did the exact same thing in 2011 and committed to Notre Dame a week later. While the Irish coaching staff doesn’t expect the same result from Cornell it would certainly be nice. Notre Dame does have an ace in their corner. Cornell is former teammates with current Irish freshman James Onwualu. After reading a recent tweet by Cornell in which he listed Michigan ahead of Notre Dame, Onwualu contacted him and gave him some grief.
“James was giving me a little bit of crap for that,” Cornell remembered.
Cornell didn’t hesitate to turn the tables on his former teammate.
“I talked to him about his game the other day; I talked to him about his penalties,” Cornell shared. “He said it was his first game and he had a little bit of jitters.”
Notre Dame will have its own chance to impress the talented Minnesotan when he visits October 19 for the USC game in what is shaping up to be a huge recruiting weekend for the Irish.
“I’m for sure going to that game,” Cornell said.
He does have other visits planned for the fall as well so it could easily become more than just a Notre Dame-Michigan battle.
“I’m probably going to take trips down to Iowa and Minnesota and I think I’m going to Ohio State for the Wisconsin game,” he shared.
These two summaries represent just a sample of the Notre Dame football recruiting information available each week on Irish Sports Daily.