MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A cornerback on West Virginia’s graduate transfer wish list announced late Thursday night he is headed elsewhere.
Former Notre Dame cornerback Nick Watkins, a nine-game starter during 2017, tweeted “#GoCoogs” in announcing plans to sign with Houston.
With one spot open in this recruiting class, not to mention a desperate need for cornerbacks, West Virginia figured to make a run at Watkins after enticing him to visit Morgantown in May.
“I liked what West Virginia offered and I could see myself playing there,” Watkins told the Rivals website WVSports.com after his visit. “They explained that (Hakeem) Bailey is the only one that has any playing experience and I’d come in and be on the other side of him.
“Coach Gibson sees me coming in and playing corner and just being an impact player and a dominant force in the Big 12 in that West Virginia defense.”
But the Dallas native also was interested in Nebraska and other home-state programs such as TCU, SMU and Houston. With Watkins in the fold, the Cougars have seven transfers from Power 5 programs who will become eligible this fall.
The Mountaineers have signed two grad transfers this spring — defensive linemen Kenny Bigelow of USC and Jabril Robinson from Clemson — while another, ex-UCLA cornerback Denzel Fischer, committed on April 7. But Fisher remains unsigned while completing coursework on the West Coast, and his status remains uncertain given West Virginia’s attempt to lure Watkins during the interim.