After a strong sophomore season, highlighted by elite speed and athleticism, a hamstring injury hampered Braden Lenzy’s 2020 campaign. With the departure of numerous wide receivers from a year ago, Lenzy will be tasked with becoming a starter for the Fighting Irish this fall. The Irish Wideout has speed that could bolster the Notre Dame Offense and help stretch the field with a deep passing attack.
- Position: Wide Receiver
- Grade: Senior
- Hometown: Portland, Oregon
- High School: Tigard
- 2018 Class Ranking: #10 athlete and #215 player overall according to 247 Sports
- 2019 Receiving: 11 receptions for 254 yards (23 yards per catch) with 2 receiving touchdowns, 70-yards (longest)
- 2019 Rushing: 13 rushes for 200 yards (15.4 yards per attempt) with 2 rushing touchdowns, 61-yards (longest)
- 2020 Receiving: 7 receptions for 63 yards with 1 touchdown
- 2020 Rushing: 3 attempts for 8 yards
Lenzy had a breakout sophomore season in South Bend. When I think of Braden Lenzy, I recall the USC Game in 2019 and the matchup with Navy a few games later. A turning point in the contest with the Trojans was an end-around by Braden Lenzy. Ian Book handed the speedster the ball, and Lenzy took it 51-yards for an Irish Touchdown. Those are the type of plays that the senior wide receiver can bring to the offense this fall.
Facing the Midshipmen, Ian Book connected on a deep pass to Lenzy for a 70-yard touchdown. This was not a 50/50 ball or screen pass; the Notre Dame Wide Receiver was able to get behind the Navy defense with his speed. The connection brought flashbacks to the days of Will Fuller.
The Irish Receiver was plagued by a leg injury last year. Braden Lenzy was not at 100% early in the season for Notre Dame. In game five against Pittsburgh, the Irish Wide Receiver did get some playing time, but unfortunately, he reaggravated his hamstring.
It was obvious watching the game live that Braden Lenzy had re-injured his hamstring, as the Notre Dame Wideout grabbed his leg while attempting to run a deep route late in the 4th quarter.
Speed can add a new dimension to the Irish Offense. Lenzy is listed at 5-11 3/8 and 181 pounds, but what makes the senior special is his unrivaled speed. How fast is Braden Lenzy? He ran the 200 m race in 21.34 seconds in high school, which was the 6th best in Oregon history (a state renowned for track and field).
It would be remarkable to see an Irish Receiver get behind an opposing defense. Certainly, there is only one Will Fuller, but if Lenzy could have a few deep plays this fall, it would help the offense that often relies on long, methodical drives. The last “home run threat” Notre Dame had at receiver was Chase Claypool a few years ago.
Braden Lenzy is essential to the Notre Dame Offense. The Irish Receiver will bring a new aspect to the Irish Offense through running, deep play potential, and overall, as a starting wide receiver. Offensive Coordinator Tommy Rees sent receivers in motion countless times last fall, highlighted by a touchdown from Ben Skowronek at North Carolina. If Lenzy is healthy, it will force opposing defenses to acknowledge his running capabilities through rushing and receiving the football.
Like several other players on the roster, fans should be excited to watch Braden Lenzy this fall. Kryen Williams and Chris Tyree are big-play threats on the ground, and hopefully, Lenzy can be a significant threat in the passing attack.
Notre Dame Offense lacked a deep threat in 2020. Ben Skowronek and Javon McKinely had their fair share of big plays last fall, but they utilized their size and height to go up and catch 50/50 balls. Braden Lenzy, along with Kevin Austin Jr. and possibly a few other receivers, can get past the defense with speed.
I recall the days that DeShone Kizer would throw the ball up to Will Fuller, and the offense took more deep shots. Undoubtedly, the Irish Offense looked different last year, and they did make the College Football Playoffs, but the other teams in the playoffs had stronger passing attacks. Yes, it did help that Alabama had one of the best group of receivers in the history of the game.
Braden Lenzy has a lot of potential but a lot to prove as well. In the Blue-Gold Spring Game, the senior wideout had five receptions for 88 total yards. There is a lot of promise for Lenzy, but he is now the starter alongside Avery Davis and Kevin Austin Jr. He will be tasked with more than “end-arounds” and deep routes this season. His game will be characterized by getting open on 3rd downs and making plays in the 4th quarter.
If Lenzy and the talented group of Irish Receivers can take the next step this fall, the Notre Dame Offense can reach new heights.