Notre Dame WR Braden Lenzy Skipping the Track to Focus on Football

When Braden Lenzy was being recruited two years ago, he was pretty clear that he wanted to play football and run track wherever he ultimately went.  In fact, his up and down recruiting allegedly had something to do with how he would be able to do both at Notre Dame.  Two years later the rising sophomore has changed his mind and will not be participating in track this spring and will instead focus his full attention on football.

Lenzy did not see the field this fall as a true freshman for the Irish though many felt he might have had a chance to see the field in the Cotton Bowl because he possesses the kind of speed that the Notre Dame receiving corps were sorely lacking in 2018.  That ended up not happening, but with the Irish in need of speed at receiver, it looks as though Lenzy see the opportunity for playing time in 2019 and is thus forgoing track.

That opportunity became even larger earlier this month when Miles Boykin surprised many by declaring for the 2018 NFL Draft.  That opened up at least one starting position in the Notre Dame receiving corps.

Braden Lenzy might be the fastest player on the Notre Dame offense.  Troy Pride, also an accomplished track athlete, would give Lenzy a run for his money for the fastest on the team, but offensively there isn’t anyone who could beat Lenzy in a foot race.  Still, that pure speed did not translate in any playing time for Lenzy this fall.

That could change in 2019 – especially now that Lenzy is focusing solely on football this spring.  Lenzy along with Lawrence Keys and Joe Wilkins are seen as candidates who could improve Notre Dame’s speed at receiver.  The trio of freshman will be jockeying for position on the depth chart this spring along with classmate Kevin Austin – who could be the most talented all around receiver on the roster – and upperclassmen Michael Young and Javon McKinley.

The most likely scenario for Notre Dame at receiver this fall is Austin joining Chase Claypool and Chris Finke in the starting lineup, but we saw Notre Dame use four wide receiver sets in the Cotton Bowl – something we hadn’t really seen in the past.  That will open the door for at least one other wide receiver this fall.

If that someone is Lenzy, the Irish could finally have a receiver who can take the top off of a defense again.  They haven’t had one since Will Fuller declared for the NFL Draft following the 2015 season.

Lenzy still has a lot of work to do before he is ready to fill that role, but his decision on Saturday to skip track and focus on football is definitely a step in the right direction.

The wide receiver position is going to be one of the more interesting ones to watch this spring.  It won’t rival linebacker where any number of outcomes could occur, but it will be very interesting to see if Notre Dame just tries to replace Boykin or if they take the lessons learned in the Cotton Bowl and really tries to get more speed and athleticism on the field.  Lenzy will be part of that equation.

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  1. I know a coach in Lenzy’s home town who says Lenzy has elite speed and elite hands, but never seemed to get within three yards of where he was supposed to be on his route running. The fact that he’s decided to focus on football suggests that he’s been told that he won’t play until he learns how to run his routes accurately.

    A guy who flip-flops as often as he did, and also has that sort of rep, is a kid who needs to make up his mind that he wants to play at the next level. This decision suggests that he might have done just that. He can spend the year learning how to play football, and maybe have a Fuller-like breakout year in 2020.

  2. Does Lenzy or any of the other speed guys have
    any wiggle to them to return punts or kickoffs..?
    Cause in Kelly tenure they have not had a dynamic
    return speciallist..a few guys had some speed and
    put a foot in the ground and take to the house..but
    no real threats or excitement in the return game..
    I still find it difficult to beleive in 9 yrs he hasnt
    had any..I like Finke not bad at all..seems though
    as if the sp units as a whole have been a little gun
    shy since little giants nice have these units
    really contribute in a big way in some of these made
    for tv games..guess it just the rocket got in hall
    thats making me long for a dude that can just flat house
    a return at any moment too turn a game around for
    for the win…!

  3. Austin probably slides into Boykins spot. So Claypool, Finke, and Austin your starters. But they have to find a way to get Lenzy, Young and Keys on the field. I hope they’ve developed enough because we need that speed, athletic ability.

    1. As many as five guys are eligible to catch the ball…four wideouts of some sort is common enough in modern college football with either a TE or a blocking back near the pocket. The only problem is that when we bring in our extra speed guy we let their defense substitute and we also stop the “tempo” in its tracks. I would say that if we are going to do that we might as well huddle on that play…just run our speed guy into the huddle with the play(s) and drop the pretense of “tempo” for that part of that series. But it seems clear to me (without knowing first hand) that Brian Kelly (1) wants tempo and (2) wants more control over when the defense can and can’t substitute. I get that point of view. I also think that this year, with so many speed type receivers, and hopefully a little better blocking back, it might be worth the tradeoff some of the time. The defense would know what was coming, and when, but this year that might not matter so much. With more experience on the “O” line, and a better blocking back, our QB could be protected better for deep route plays. It’s hard to throw deep without your feet planted, and it’s hard to plant your feet when you are scrambling as quick as Book was against Clemson at least, and maybe some others for a half.

      BGC ’77 ’82

  4. Just noticed ND vs Bowling Green the week before SC on the 2019 schedule. BGU’s DC just left and the newly-hired LB Coach is none other than Brian Van Gorder. Will they elevate him now to their DC? BVG will return vs. ND, not as the Louisville DC we hoped for, but as the LB coach (and maybe soon-to-be DC for BGU) on the other sideline vs. ND next season! When I saw this, to quote Chief Dan George, ” My heart soared like a hawk!”

  5. August 30, 2018

    Dear diary

    They go into the 2nd half of the season with at least 2 losses…and from there it could get ugly.


  6. ND coaches don’t play freshman. They treat them like children while the top teams in the country move them into starting lineup positions right away. We basically get one year out of most of our top players,

      1. Dopey, as to your disparaging remarks of BK’s facial gestures, luckily we have freedom of smirk in this country

  7. I think he and Keys Austin and Young all need to see the field more.alabama was using 5 and 6 receivers in their rotation. So was Ohio state and oklahoma.

  8. After being around the system for a year now, I think Lenzy wisely realizes to hang around that football field as much as possible to get in the rotation.

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