Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Film Don't Lie | Xavier Watts

July 5, 2019

Notre Dame is working to stack athletes on top of athletes at the receiver position. The kind of athletes who can threaten a defense with an explosive play on every snap and the opposition must prepare to deal with their speed.

Xavier Watts‍ is the newest addition to the 2020 class for the Irish and he fits right in with Michael Young, Lawrence Keys, and Kendall Abdur-Rahman as an athlete with the potential to create big plays after the catch for the Irish.

I think Watts is one of the more underrated prospects in this cycle and if he played in a different state, he’d probably be getting more love with his ranking. As they say, though, Film Don’t Lie. And his film is impressive.

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 180

Projected Position: X receiver or the slot

ISD Grade: 91 (4-star)

National Average Grade: 87.3 (3-star)

What he does best:

When teams can’t tackle well in space, those are free yards for the offense to take advantage of. The best way to exploit it is to have players like Watts who can do things like this after the catch. He turns this screen thrown behind the line of scrimmage into a touchdown.


He has the potential to turn an efficient play into an explosive one with what he can do after the catch. His vision and the way he can make people miss in the open field can help him do big things.


Watt can stretch the field vertically. I’m unsure of his recorded speed (he’s a track athlete), but he shows the long speed to take the top off a defense in pads.


On the other side of the ball, he’s a wrap tackler who does a nice job with his angles. Half the reason why a receiver might not translate to corner has to do with tackling, but I don’t see it being any kind of issue with Watts.

The thing that makes me believe he can excel on defense if that’s where he ultimately ends up is the way he accelerates.


He did so on that tackle closing in quickly and here he is at safety taking away what looks like a completion and turning it into a pick six.


There was a gap there where it looked like the quarterback could fit that in. Watts took it away because he is so quick.

What he needs to improve:

I think he has the athletic traits to develop into a great route runner, but he’s undisciplined in that aspect of his game right now. He’s a superior athlete who can get away with it at the high school level, but that won’t cut it at Notre Dame.

It’s all details with him right now on offense and defense. Like a lot of guys who don’t specialize in one position, he needs refinement with his footwork to better take advantage of his athletic gifts.

What’s his ceiling?

He’s a multi-sport (basketball and track) and multi-position athlete, which is always a huge plus. That also tells me that he is nowhere close to reaching his potential because he hasn’t focused on his future spot.

I think he could play in the slot or the X position for the Irish if he plays on offense and that’s the side of the ball he is being recruited for. If it doesn’t work out there, then they could always give him a shot on defense too.

He has the potential to develop into a big play contributor on either side of the ball. Irish fans should be very excited about his versatility and the staff did a great job identifying someone with the potential to create explosive plays.

BREAKING | 2020 four-star WR Xavier Watts Commits to Notre Dame

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