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Sunday, October 20, 2013
ESPN 300 CB talks Notre Dame visit

By Damon Sayles

After a productive official visit to Notre Dame, ESPN 300 cornerback Nick Watkins (Dallas/Bishop Dunne) addressed an intriguing question.

Are he and teammate Payton Hendrix, a three-star safety, a package deal?

“Umm,” Watkins said, followed by a small laugh, “we might be.”

Watkins and Hendrix were in South Bend, Ind., to watch Notre Dame beat USC, 14-10, and snap a five-game home losing skid to the Trojans dating back to 2001. Watkins said the crowd of 80,975 provided the electricity he and Hendrix -- a hard-hitting defensive back and a national top-25 safety -- were looking for, as both made their first official visits.

“It was amazing. The game atmosphere, the tailgating, everything,” Watkins said. “It really surpassed my expectations.”

Watkins, No. 62 in the ESPN 300 and the nation’s No. 9 cornerback, made an unofficial visit to Notre Dame in April, but the one thing he was missing from his overall opinion was a game-day experience. Freshman wide receiver Torii Hunter Jr., who played high school ball in Prosper, Texas, was the player host for Watkins and Hendrix.

“He’s real laid back, real cool,” Watkins said of Hunter, the son of the pro baseball outfielder. “That’s just Texas people, though. He said he was glad to see more Texas people.

“He was telling me that they’ll take care of you at Notre Dame. It’s a great school, and everyone has your back.”

Watkins said he doesn’t have any other official visits set up, but he will talk with his parents about Notre Dame and about scheduling upcoming visits. Watkins added that, most likely, no more visits will be made until after Bishop Dunne’s football season ends.

Watkins has additional offers from Alabama, Michigan, Florida State, LSU, Oregon, Stanford and a host of other schools, including in-state programs Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, Texas Tech and SMU. Hendrix has a Notre Dame offer along with offers from Baylor, Arkansas, Nebraska, Stanford, Texas Tech, Kansas State and others.