Grand Island vs. Omaha Burke, 11.19

Omaha Burke wide receiver Xavier Watts runs past Grand Island cornerback Ace McKinnis for a third-quarter touchdown during the Class A state championship at Memorial Stadium on Nov. 19.

In the moments after Omaha Burke claimed its first Class A state football title in school history, Bulldogs coach Paul Limongi lavished high praise on junior wide receiver and defensive back Xavier Watts. 

"He was our best player all year," Limongi said then. 

Yes, standout linebacker Nick Henrich missed four weeks with a knee injury, but the Bulldogs had all kinds of talent. Henrich and Chris Hickman, of course, are now Husker signees. James Burks was one of the best running backs in the state. 

But Watts, a two-way starter at 6-foot and 200 pounds, was the best of the bunch in his coach's eyes. 

His recruitment is certainly shaping up that way. 

Watts picked up an offer from Notre Dame on Saturday, the latest high-major school to join the race for a prospect, currently ranked as a three-star, that college coaches think could play on either side of the ball. 

The Irish are only the most recent, of course. Watts picked up offers from Purdue and Iowa State a year ago, then saw more of the Big Ten West join the fray in October when Northwestern, Wisconsin and Nebraska all offered in a five-day stretch. Earlier this month he also picked up an offer from Kansas State. 

Watts finished his junior season with 67 catches for 1,093 yards and 14 touchdowns on offense and 57 tackles and five interceptions on defense and was a first-team Super-State selection by the Journal Star. 

Watts attended several games at Memorial Stadium in the fall and also got to South Bend, Indiana, in September. 

Watts is one of two 2020 prospects from the state that already have Husker offers. The other is Bellevue West wide receiver Zavier Betts. 

NU's lone 2020 commit so far is quarterback Logan Smothers (Athens, Alabama). 

Contact the writer at pgabriel@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.


Sports writer

Parker joined the Journal Star as the University of Nebraska football beat writer in August 2017. He previously covered Montana State athletics for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2012.

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