Several Notre Dame prospects were on hand in Oregon at the Nike facilities this week to participate in The Opening none of whom appears to have improved his stock than wide receiver commitment Justin Brent.
Brent, a talented wide receiver out of Speedway High School in Indianapolis, is quickly climbing up the rankings from various recruiting services and his performance this week in Oregon was good enough to earn him “Dream Team” honors from 247 sports.
Barton Simmons of 247 had this to say about one of Notre Dame’s first commitments for the class of 2014 after watching him perform all week at The Opening.
One of the biggest ‘stock up’ performances of the entire event, Brent has a big frame, and good ball skills but he also showed an understanding for route-running, depth and timing and received strong praise from offensive coaches throughout the week.
When Brent first committed to Notre Dame – which will be exactly a year ago as of tomorrow, he was a fairly unheralded 3-star prospect in the eyes of most of the recruiting services. Since then, however, all of them have warmed up to the Irish wide receiver commit and now have Brent listed as a 4-star recruit.
Brent’s ascent up the recruiting rankings does not appear to be over either based on his performance in Oregon. In perusing through the comments in the 247 article on Brent’s inclusion in their Dream Team, staff expert JC Shurburtt mentioned that Brent is “probably top 40-60 range, maybe higher.”
Moving up that high in the rankings could put Brent just on the cusp of 5-star status. That is quite the ascent for a prospect that wasn’t on a whole lot of radars just a year ago.
The Notre Dame coaching staff was one of the first staffs to notice Brent’s elite talent and as a result were able to secure a commitment from the in-state prospect very early on. The case of Brent is also another prime example of why fans shouldn’t get too riled up about recruiting rankings – especially early on.
If there is one thing that we have learned from this staff when it comes to recruiting it’s that they are not the type of staff that will recruit based off player rankings over their own staff evaluations. The recruitment of Brent is just another example of that. The same can be said for fellow recruits like Jonathan Bonner or even this past weekend’s addition of Grant Blankenship. This staff has a profile they recruit at each position and when they find someone who fits they profile, they move quickly.
Given the departures this spring of Davonte Neal and Justin Ferguson and the impending graduation of TJ Jones after this season, there will be playing time up for grabs in 2014. Brent very likely could find himself in the mix depending on how the Irish fill out this year’s class and what this year’s freshmen crop of receivers is able to accomplish this fall. Brent does not look like a high school senior and could see the field early if none of this year’s freshman grab the opportunity for playing time this fall and spring.
Fellow Notre Dame commitment Elijah Hood also had an impressive showing at the Opening last week. The 5-star running back made it to the SPARQ Rating Championship but was unable to complete the final round due to cramps. Before having to bow out of the competition, Hood ran an impressive 4.48 electronically timed 40 yard dash after weighing in at 221 lbs.