April 3, 2009

Irish offer four-star athlete

Despite a roster loaded with four-star defensive backs, Notre Dame hasn't slowed down on the recruiting trail. The Irish extended a new offer Friday morning to Jaylen Watkins, a 6-foot-1, 172-pound athlete from Cape Coral, Fla.

Watkins, a member of the Rivals100, started his junior season at cornerback before moving to safety. He talked with Irish head coach Charlie Weis on Friday morning.

"He said they were extending an offer to me," Watkins said. "That would be my 20th offer. I'm supposed to call (Irish assistant) Bernie Parmalee to discuss some things."

That discussion figures to include talk of Watkins setting a Notre Dame visit. The elite athlete figures to get a nudge toward a trip to South Bend from teammate Spencer Boyd, who plans to attend the Blue-Gold Game on April 18. Boyd landed his offer from Notre Dame in mid-February.

"I really don't know much about them, but I'm going to evaluate them and look at them," Watkins said. "I haven't really thought about (a visit) yet."

Last weekend Watkins visited Miami. On April 10 he'll check out Florida.

"Miami was nice," he said. "I had a talk with the coaches and got to see the facilities and everything."

Because Watkins also plays quarterback at Cape Coral, some colleges are interested in what he can do on offense. But if he has his way Watkins will make tackles in college instead of trying to break them.

"Some schools say corner and some don't know if they want me on the offensive side of the ball or defense," he said. "I probably prefer defense. I like corner because it's just you one-on-one with the other guy and I like to compete."

Watkins said he already has narrowed his list some, but until he evaluates all options he isn't ready to declare any favorites.

"I've narrowed it down a bit, but until I'm sure about the schools I'm looking at I don't want to put it out there," he said.

That short list could appear soon as Watkins plans to make an early decision.

"It will probably be at the end of spring, late May," he said. "Before the season starts I want to have it out of the way."

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