Notre Dame got some fantastic news to end the second week of training camp Friday. Four star wide receiver Kevin Austin became the 16th commitment for the class of 2018 after selecting the Irish over Miami, Duke, and Tennessee. The North Broward Prep star gives Notre Dame its most highly rated wide receiver in the last two recruiting cycles.
Kevin Austin (6’3″, 198 lbs) comes in as a composite 4-star recruiting with an overall ranking of 110 in the 247 Sports Composite rankings. He was also an invitee to The Opening Finals in Oregon last month where he showed that he belonged with the best of the best in the country.
As a junior, Austin hauled in 41 receptions for 1,021 yards (24.9 average) with 13 touchdowns for North Broward Prep. Austin also ran for 6 touchdowns on 46 carries totaling 454 yards. He hauled in another 12 touchdowns as a sophomore on 43 receptions for 713 yards.
For those looking at Austin’s finalists and saying how does such a highly ranked receiver have Duke and Tennessee as his finalists, Austin’s “cohort” list is impressive. Clemson offered Austin a couple months ago and nearly got in the game, but Austin kept to his four finalists that he has zeroed in on. Auburn, Florida, Michigan, Ohio State, Oregon, and USC all offered as well.
Duke was considered the biggest threat to Notre Dame here actually as Austin has placed a high value on academics. In fact, there was some chatter – maybe paranoia – earlier this week that Duke might have actually been the team to beat. Luckily for Notre Dame that is not the case as Austin is one of the better wide receivers to commit to Notre Dame in the last few years.
Austin is a bigger receiver but he moves well and has the looks of a potential future #1 wide receiver in the Notre Dame offense. He isn’t a blazer in the mold of Will Fuller – not many are – but he is an advanced route runner and uses his size to create separation. He is also very good at catching the ball in a traffic and with tight coverage on him – just get the ball in his vicinity and there is a good chance that he will come down with it.
Austin joins Micah Jones as wide receivers in the class of 2018 for Notre Dame with the Irish looking to add more. Right now Notre Dame has two taller, physical receivers with Austin 6’3″ and Jones 6’5″ so look for them to really target speedy, explosive receivers to round out the class. Had Braden Lenzy not decommitted back in the spring Notre Dame could very well be done at the position with the exception of holding out hope for Amon Ra St. Brown. Notre Dame still has a lot of ground to make up there though.
With 16 commitments now in the class of 2018, Notre Dame will be focusing on a few key areas and their top targets throughout the season in addition to another wide receiver. Specifically, look for Notre Dame to target another offensive lineman or two, a couple of defensive linemen, and then corners, corners, corners.