Watkins, a native Texan, was injured in the Spring and the Irish recently announced that he'll undergo another surgery that should keep him out of the opener in Austin. He joins injured teammate Devin Butler on the Notre Dame cornerback casualty list.
Notre Dame's only reliable fixture at CB will be former Texas recruit Cole Luke (who is a damn good player). 5-8, 180 pound redshirt freshman Shaun Crawford looks to be the frontrunner to man the other spot, but Irish depth at nickel and cornerback #3 remains a bit of a mystery. I expect that depth to be provided by a good freshmen DB class.
Your takeaway? Texas may be able to find some mismatches favorable to the Longhorns in the back 7, while the Irish still hold a clear edge in the trenches on both sides of the ball. If the Irish overcompensate with deep safeties and extra DBs, Texas may have a realistic shot at running the ball against a superior Irish front four.