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.