JOE WILKINS, Jr.
North Fort Myers High School; Fla.
Measurements: 6’2”, 175 lbs.
Accolades: Consensus three-star.
Other Notable Offers: Wilkins’ recruitment was slow-developing but seemingly long-focused on Notre Dame. South Carolina, South Florida and Louisville lead a number of southeastern offers, while Washington State, Arizona and Michigan State provided other non-regional options.
Projected Position: Cornerback.
Quick Take: Notre Dame desperately needs defensive backs. By no means is that the only reasons Wilkins was sought, but it explains why a quiet recruitment results with a November commitment. That need was an exact part of his commitment, then telling Blue & Gold Illustrated, “They don’t have any freshman corners right now. I’m definitely going to get a chance to play early and to compete for a spot.”
Short-Term Roster Outlook: Even if Wilkins does not initially break into the rotation as a freshman, the Irish have only five cornerbacks at the moment, often needing as many as four frequently in one game. If one (such as current sophomore Julian Love) were to move to safety, suddenly an incoming freshman could be one play away from notable playing time.
Long-View Depth Chart Impact: Current senior Nick Watkins will be in his final season of eligibility in 2018. Love will have two remaining — as will his classmates Troy Pride and Donte Vaughn and junior Shaun Crawford — but another starring season could prompt NFL talk. The chances will be there for Wilkins, as he suggested. Last year’s recruiting failure is very much Wilkins’ gain.