Xavier Watts Practicing at Wide Receiver for Notre Dame

With Notre Dame’s numbers dwindling at wide receiver following the injury to Avery Davis last week, it seemed inevitable that Notre Dame would move someone to receiver at some point. On Wednesday, we learned that someone just might be former wide receiver Xavier Watts. The junior who switched to defensive mid-year last year was seen wearing a new jersey number and practicing with the wide receivers on Wednesday.

Watts changed his jersey to #4 in the spring – the same jersey number as sophomore wide receiver Lorenzo Styles. As recently as this week’s podcast, I felt the chances of Watts moving back to receiver were low since the staff knew they were one injury away from needing a receiver in the spring and still let the two have the same jersey number. Unfortunately, it looks like that take aged like milk sitting out in the summer sun.

Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman did not address the media on Wednesday, but it is on Thursday, so we should get some clarity as to whether or not Watts will stay at receiver this year or if they will try out multiple players. Notre Dame was down a few other receivers who sat out with injuries much less serious than Davis’s, so maybe they just needed numbers for today. We’ll know more tomorrow.

Xavier Watts was recruited to Notre Dame as a receiver in the much-maligned wide receiver of 2020 that appeared to be a complete bust. Watts moved to defense, and classmates Jordan Johnson and Jay Brunelle both transferred after one year at Notre Dame. That class, along with landing just a single receiver in the class of 2022, was a significant reason why Del Alexander was not retained by Marcus Freeman and didn’t find a role with Brian Kelly in Baton Rouge.

Watts only played in two games as a freshman receiver in 2020 and was not seeing the field at receiver in 2021 before moving to ROVER first and then safety. Watts showed promise as a safety and looked like he would have a role on the defense in 2022 so if he does move back to receiver hopefully it’s not just to move back to defense again next year for the sake of his own development.

Watts’s journey so far is not dissimilar to that of the player whose injury appears to have prompted this potential move. Avery Davis started his career as a quarterback, moved to running back, and then moved to cornerback before ultimately finding a home at receiver.

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