According to Irish Sports Daily’s Matt Freeman, senior wide receiver Lawrence Keys III will sit out the rest of the 2021 season before graduating in December and making a decision about his future. Keys played on Sunday night in Tallahassee but was not targetted in Notre Dame’s win over Florida State.
After a strong spring and break out in the Blue & Gold game, expectations were high for Keys heading into the 2021 season. It was seniors Kevin Austin, Braden Lenzy, and Joe Wilkins who made their mark in the Irish passing game against the Seminoles, though. Wilkins and Austin both scored touchdowns while Lenzy had a few key grabs and showed the speed he had in 2019 before last year’s hamstring injuries.
The Notre Dame wide receiver room took a few hits in the spring with the transfers of Jordan Johnson, Jay Brunelle, and Micah Jones. Keys’ departure thins out the depth a little more, but Notre Dame has younger receivers capable of stepping in.
Lorenzo Styles could play inside potentially if Notre Dame elevates Deion Colzie to the two-deep. Sophomore Xavier Watts, however, could be the biggest beneficiary since there is now a clear path into the two-deep for him.
On the surface, this news is similar to the 2019 in-season departure of wide receiver Michael Young who left the program prior to the Michigan contest in Ann Arbor.
On the recruiting front, Notre Dame will likely make a strong push for a fourth wide receiver in the class of 2022 after all of the departures. Notre Dame could look to dip into the transfer portal as well for some additional depth in 2022 similar to what they did last year with Bennett Skowronek.
Expect Brian Kelly to address the situation tomorrow when he is scheduled to meet with the media for the last time prior to this weekend’s game against Toledo.