Notre Dame football running it back with Xavier Watts one more time

Xavier Watts gave Notre Dame football fans the announcement they were all waiting for on Saturday evening.
Oct 14, 2023; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Marcus Freeman
Oct 14, 2023; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Marcus Freeman / Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame football got the biggest announcement of the postseason since the Fighting Irish found its quarterback for next season in Riley Leonard. In fact, the announcement on Saturday evening might be even bigger than that.

Defensive back Xavier Watts, the man who won the Bronco Nagurski award this past season; the man who was a unanimous All-American, the man who led the nation in interceptions, is coming back in 2024.

Watts made the official announcement on X with a short video that was captioned with “run it back.” The video shows Watts searching in the desert with a pickaxe and a map, saying “this is my last chance to find what I’m searching for.”

What the Notre Dame football star is looking for is clearly a national championship. His return, along with so many other defenders like Howard Cross III, Jordan Botelho, Jack Kiser and others, along with additions like former Duke pass rusher RJ Oben means that the Golden Domers will at the very least have a national championship level defense.

Then there’s the additions of Leonard, and wide receivers Kris Mitchell and Beaux Collins to juice up the offense. There’s also of course a 2024 recruiting class that finished in the Top 10 in the country. 

Notre Dame football adds another piece to championship-caliber squad

I haven’t even mentioned the fact that Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman also significantly upgraded his offensive coaching staff with new wide receivers coach Mike Brown and offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock.

Even without Watts, the Irish would have a very, very good team. With him they should probably be mentioned as one of the four or five top teams to contend for a title. He’s likely known that for a while.

While the Notre Dame defensive back hadn’t let many in on his thought process, there were hints he was going to be back. The fact that he hadn’t announced he was leaving yet was a big one. Now … it’s official. Time to run it back, only do it better.