Even before Notre Dame’s four freshman wide receivers arrived on campus and started taking place in their first training camp as members of the Fighting Irish, Notre Dame featured a deep, talented, and diverse wide receiving corps. Since their arrival though, the talented and apparently under rated quarttet is doing it’s best to make a strong group even stronger.
Notre Dame returned all of its top receivers from a year ago including All-American candidate Will Fuller, a pair of 500+ yard receivers in Chris Brown and Corey Robinson, and a versatile slot receiver in Amir Carlisle. Toss in a fully healthy Torii Hunter Jr and a pair of former 4-star sophomores in Justin Brent and Corey Holmes and the Notre Dame two deep looked pretty set.
Consider that depth chart written in pencil right now with Notre Dame’s frosh raising some eyebrows early in training camp.
In the very limited practice video that has been available, Equanimeous St Brown has consistently stood out for how smooth he looks running down the field at his size. The California native is at 6’4′, 205 lbs on the official roster. Brian Kelly raved about him over the weekend. “We thought that Equanimeous was going to be a good receiver for us, but maybe down the road,” said Kelly over the weekend before adding, “He’s ready. I mean, that kid runs like a deer. And we’ve put him up against everybody, and he can run past you and can go up and get the football.”
St. Brown is already drawing some comparisons to Corey Robinson with better top end speed. Considering Robinson played as a true freshman and picked up 539 yards on 40 catches with 5 touchdowns as a sophomore; if St. Brown is indeed a faster version of the talented junior, the Irish have a potential star.
Another freshman whose name has popped up a few times already this summer is fellow California product CJ Sanders. Over the weekend Sanders returned a punt nearly 90 yards for a touchdown in practice and has been making some great runs out of the slot position. Kelly has raved about the youngsters ability to cut at full speed noting that it’s something that has been lacking at Notre Dame since he’s been on campus.
Kelly has already said that the Irish offensive staff will have to find a way to get him on the field in some capacity whether it be as a punt returner or on the offensive side of the ball. At 5’8″, 185 lbs; Sanders doesn’t boost the size of St. Brown so whatever role Sanders plays will likely involve the slot receiver getting the ball in space. With Carlisle and Hunter ahead of him on the depth chart though, an extended role might not be in the cards, but it would be a surprise if he didn’t have his number called early on.
The other freshmen wide receivers – Jalen Guyton and Miles Boykin – might not have garnered the headlines of their classmates just yet, but both have been seen in the WatchND videos making plays. Boykin, like St. Brown, easily passes the eye test already checking in at 6’3.5″, 225 lbs.
In some past years, St. Brown and Sanders could be thrown into the fire early earlier than they were ready like say Duval Kamara or Golden Tate were early on in their careers. With the depth the Irish have built though, if either plays any sort of prominent role this fall it will be because they forced the coaching staff to put them on the field.