If you’ve been following Notre Dame football, you’ve probably noticed a few tweets like this:
“Braden Lenzy has looked good this spring.” – Brian Kelly
— Irish Sports Daily (@ISDUpdate) March 19, 2019
Kelly on WR: You've got some established players who can play at a high level with Claypool and Finke.
Also said Joe Wilkins will continues to get work, Braden Lenzy has looked really good.
— BlueandGold.com (@BGInews) March 19, 2019
But it hasn’t always been so optimistic for Braden Lenzy.
The journey for Notre Dame for the Sophomore wide receiver has been quite an interesting one filled with questions, concerns, and commitment. A once highly touted recruit noted for his elite speed seemed to be questioning everything upon his arrival to South Bend this past fall.
Lenzy’s recruitment to Notre Dame was certainly one of the more interesting ones throughout the Brian Kelly era.
The 6’0 athlete out of Tigard high school in Oregon was known for one thing and one thing that the fighting Irish desperately needed. Speed. With a few track records to prove it, Lenzy is a flat out burner, and something ND has really lacked since the departure of will Fuller to the NFL.
After receiving offers to Washington State, Oregon State, and Oregon, Lenzy thought a trip to recruiting trip to Notre Dame would be a “waste of time.” That all changed after 30 mins on campus, and a commitment to ND soon after.
However it was not smooth sailing from there. After some confusion about his ability to run track at ND, Lenzy flipped his commitment to Oregon after then Coach Willie Taggart sold Lenzy on the future.
Lenzy suffered backlash from Irish fans saying he was receiving close to 100 messages a day that were either threatening or questioned his character.
Willie Taggart didn’t last long at Oregon as he darted for Florida State soon after. This pushed Lenzy to reopen his commitment, and after another visit to South Bend Lenzy committed to the Irish again.
One would think that it would be smooth sailing after for Lenzy as he became a student athlete at Notre Dame, but things seemed off for a while.
Reports of disappointment with Lenzy’s progress were surfacing as well as Lenzy disappointment in lack of playing time as well and struggles being away far from home.
Just gotta keep my head down and be patient..
— Braden Lenzy (@blspeedy21) September 23, 2018
I think we can generally say though that winning cures all woes, and Lenzy seemed to adjust to life at ND as the Irish were marching through an undefeated season. Even embracing a scout team role.
Time to get this Defense ready for CFP 😈☘️☘️
— Braden Lenzy (@blspeedy21) November 25, 2018
It’s great that the Irish seem to have full commitment from Lenzy now, and we are continuing to hear things like this from head coach Brian Kelly.
“He’s really focused on wanting to play this year. He felt like he needed to get stronger and he was worried about not being able to fulfill the things that he came here for, and that was to make an impact in football,” Kelly said on March 2nd.
And this from offensive coordinator Chip Long.
Chip Long says WR Braden Lenzy and TE Brock Wright are off to a great start to spring ball.
— Irish Sports Daily (@ISDUpdate) March 7, 2019
Some believed Lenzy would get some playing time in the Cotton Bowl based on comments made by Brian Kelly to try and match the athleticism of the Tigers, but it didn’t end up happening.
And not playing as a freshman is no reason for Lenzy or anyone to get down on his potential. Will Fuller barely made an impact as a freshman, and ended up being the focus of the Notre Dame offensive his sophomore season in 2014 before playing his way to being a 1st round NFL Draft pick following the 2015 season.
There was only a handful of freshman receivers across the country who made monumental impacts. Lenzy has plenty of time to turn into the type of player he seems to want to be.
It’s so disappointing to know that Irish fans treated this kid poorly at one point. Firstly because it’s despicable to threaten or belittle a kid period especially regarding something as trivial as where he chooses to play football. Secondly because of the impact he could have on a team that will more than likely be a pre-season top 10.
The Irish certainly lose some good players on offense such as Miles Boykin and Dexter Williams. Those were two guys that brought speed to a team that needed it.
Yes technically most of us didn’t think of Miles Boykin as a speedster, but I think the NFL combine proved us wrong.
Miles Boykin was definitely a big loss for the Notre Dame offense, but good programs replace guys like Boykin and Will Fuller with guys like Braden Lenzy, and don’t miss a beat.
Let’s see if the Irish can accomplish that with Lenzy, and other positions where the Irish have lost some talent. Let’s stop rebuilding and start reloading.