Irish land ESPN 300 CB Watkins

Friday was decision day for ESPN 300 cornerback Nick Watkins (Dallas/Bishop Dunne).

And by lunch time, Notre Dame fans were able to rejoice -- and finally were able to let out a sigh of relief.

In an announcement at his school, Watkins announced what many Fighting Irish fans were hoping to hear, committing to Notre Dame over offers from Alabama, Texas, UCLA and Oregon. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound cornerback became the Fighting Irish’s 18th pledge and also became its top-ranked defensive player of the 2014 class.

Ranked No. 79 in the ESPN 300, Watkins has made a couple of visits to South Bend, Ind., to take in the Notre Dame atmosphere. Watkins consistently said he was excited about what the program brought to the table, but he never publicly called them a solid favorite. He made an official visit to Notre Dame with high school teammate and high three-star safety Payton Hendrix the weekend of Oct. 18.