Ian Book Hints Notre Dame Frosh Jordan Johnson Could Be Close to Seeing Field

Notre Dame fans have been wondering for weeks where Jordan Johnson has been. The 5-star wide receiver many felt could see the field very early on has been a total non-factor through five games. On Tuesday, though, Ian Book suggested that Irish fans might not have to wait too much longer.

When asked about the three freshmen wide receivers on the Notre Dame roster, Book said he had faith in them all but singled out Johnson specifically for his performance in practice today.

“I like all three of those guys,” Book said of the freshmen trio. “ They’re young guys that want to learn – that’s what you want to see. Guys that maybe weren’t playing at the beginning of the year, but now it’s next man in mentality, and they have it.”

Then he said something that should have Irish fans excited. “For example, today’s practice was one of the best Tuesdays we’ve had, and Jordan Johnson did an incredible job. He took pride in being up there and knowing the plays for this week. He had some unbelievable catches, and that’s what we need to see.”

Okay, you have my attention, Ian.

“All three of those guys add something to this offense,” he added. “I remember working with them over quarantine. I’ve got confidence in all those guys to go out and make some plays, and I think we’ll see that here.”

Johnson is the highest-rated receiver to enroll at Notre Dame since Michael Floyd who took all of the first half of his first game to find the endzone. Johnson is still looking to get his first catch. He didn’t even make the travel roster last week for Pittsburgh though there were some rumblings on some of the pods that Johnson’s travel plans weren’t a result of his talent.

Notre Dame could use a wide receiver to step up in light of losing Kevin Austin for the season for sure and almost certainly losing Braden Lenzy for some time after he reinjured his hamstring last week while running go routes with Notre Dame up more than 40 points.

Bennett Skowronek showed why Notre Dame was so excited to land the Northwestern grad-transfer, but he is still more of the big, possession, high-pointing, contest-catch type of receiver. If they could complement him with a more dynamic receiver on the outside like they thought they’d have in both Austin and Lenzy, it would make the Notre Dame offense much more dangerous.

We’ll see if Johnson plays this weekend – heck, just making the trip to Atlanta this weekend would be an improvement. You have to think, though, that Brian Kelly wouldn’t be giving out enough reps to a player he didn’t at least instead to take with the Irish this weekend. Hopefully, it also means that we’ll get a glimpse of the frosh receiver on Saturday.

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  1. I’m tired of so called experts complaining about Lenzy running a fly with the back up QBs playing! You do realize those QBs need to work with the receivers in live action too. We are one test or injury away from playing them. If they have to play against Clemson we need them as ready as possible. Sad that Lenzy is so prone to injury. Coaches no what they are doing. Go Irish.

    1. There’s no reason to be having one of your potential game breakers running those routes in a blowout when they have been battling a hamstring issue. None. If getting the backup QB reps with starters was so important, teams would leave their starters in the game in 4th quarters of blowouts all the time. They don’t do that. And they don’t do that b/c getting a player hurt in a situation like that is inexplicable.

  2. High drama prevails at du Lac-again- re: top skill players like WR Jordan Johnson quarantined from the field without a trace of CoVid. From- he didn’t make the trip, but he isn’t injured, we assumed everything from another unspoken suspension (see: Dexter Williams, Kevin Austin ) to- he’s benched for an early mistake (his personal foul in game one, see: Kyren Williams dropping his first pass vs. Louisville last season and essentially being sentenced to the bench for the year).
    When your top deep threat, Lenzy, is hamstrung, your other top deep threat, your highest WR recruit in years, maybe should be given the chance to do what he keeps doing in practice (i.e. hauling in deep passes).
    If Book sees it, please have him inform Kelly- soon.

    1. MTA,

      Good points. Same with Wilkins. Remember him having a ton of catches and looked pretty good game 1? Then he drops a crossing route in a subsequent game and he’s barely seen the field since. I guess one bad play must outweigh 10 good ones in Kelly’s eyes for some guys. Kelly is really bad at evaluating talent. I truly hope Johnson doesn’t end up being the Kyle Hamilton of last year where he was the best safety on our roster as a true freshman but wasn’t ever starting and only getting half the snaps.

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