When Braden Lenzy was being recruited two years ago, he was pretty clear that he wanted to play football and run track wherever he ultimately went. In fact, his up and down recruiting allegedly had something to do with how he would be able to do both at Notre Dame. Two years later the rising sophomore has changed his mind and will not be participating in track this spring and will instead focus his full attention on football.
I’ve decided to focus all my time on football in preparation for spring time… I will always love track, but I feel this is best for my short term and long term goals athletically! #GoIrish ☘️
— Braden Lenzy (@blspeedy21) January 19, 2019
Lenzy did not see the field this fall as a true freshman for the Irish though many felt he might have had a chance to see the field in the Cotton Bowl because he possesses the kind of speed that the Notre Dame receiving corps were sorely lacking in 2018. That ended up not happening, but with the Irish in need of speed at receiver, it looks as though Lenzy see the opportunity for playing time in 2019 and is thus forgoing track.
That opportunity became even larger earlier this month when Miles Boykin surprised many by declaring for the 2018 NFL Draft. That opened up at least one starting position in the Notre Dame receiving corps.
Braden Lenzy might be the fastest player on the Notre Dame offense. Troy Pride, also an accomplished track athlete, would give Lenzy a run for his money for the fastest on the team, but offensively there isn’t anyone who could beat Lenzy in a foot race. Still, that pure speed did not translate in any playing time for Lenzy this fall.
That could change in 2019 – especially now that Lenzy is focusing solely on football this spring. Lenzy along with Lawrence Keys and Joe Wilkins are seen as candidates who could improve Notre Dame’s speed at receiver. The trio of freshman will be jockeying for position on the depth chart this spring along with classmate Kevin Austin – who could be the most talented all around receiver on the roster – and upperclassmen Michael Young and Javon McKinley.
The most likely scenario for Notre Dame at receiver this fall is Austin joining Chase Claypool and Chris Finke in the starting lineup, but we saw Notre Dame use four wide receiver sets in the Cotton Bowl – something we hadn’t really seen in the past. That will open the door for at least one other wide receiver this fall.
If that someone is Lenzy, the Irish could finally have a receiver who can take the top off of a defense again. They haven’t had one since Will Fuller declared for the NFL Draft following the 2015 season.
Lenzy still has a lot of work to do before he is ready to fill that role, but his decision on Saturday to skip track and focus on football is definitely a step in the right direction.
The wide receiver position is going to be one of the more interesting ones to watch this spring. It won’t rival linebacker where any number of outcomes could occur, but it will be very interesting to see if Notre Dame just tries to replace Boykin or if they take the lessons learned in the Cotton Bowl and really tries to get more speed and athleticism on the field. Lenzy will be part of that equation.