Notre Dame Commitment Files: Braden Lenzy JR Film Review

Notre Dame added it’s 11th commitment for the class of 2018 on Wednesday in the form of 4-star wide receiver/cornerback Braden Lenzy.  The Oregon native was recruited on both sides of the ball by various programs, but Notre Dame targeted the speedster as a wide receiver and it’s easy to see why when breaking down his junior year film.

Here are some observations from watching Lenzy’s junior year highlights.

  • His straight line speed is elite.  Sideline to sideline he can be a bit hesitant at times, but once he has a crease and has a lane, he’s gone.  His straight line acceleration is elite as well.  Watch some of the returns in the clip above and you’ll see him be able to reach top speed incredibly quickly.
  • Speaking of those returns, it’s hard to imagine that Lenzy won’t be an immediate factor in the return game.  CJ Sanders is will be a senior by the time Lenzy enrolls at Notre Dame and there isn’t another player  on the Irish roster now with Lenzy’s potential as a kick returner.  He’s patient until his lane opens and then he turns on the afterburners.
  • It’s encouraging to see Lenzy use his hands well while catching the football down the field.  He doesn’t appear to be over reliant on using his body to haul in the football.  For as amazing as Will Fuller was for Notre Dame, the one knock on him – and it’s followed him to the NFL – is he relied on his body too much to secure the football.
  • Speaking of Fuller, Lenzy has gotten the obvious comparisons to Notre Dame’s most recent speed demon, but there’s another recent former wide receiver that I think Lenzy reminds me more of.  Golden Tate.  Lenzy isn’t quite built like a mini bowling ball like Tate, but in his film, he rarely gets tackled to the ground after the catch.  He  gets knocked out of bounds at times, but even though he’s not overly big (175 lbs) he bounces off a lot of tackles.
  • For all of Lenzy’s speed and acceleration, his burst off the line is something that Delvaughn Alexander will most likely work on with him.
  • As a runner out of the backfield or on jet sweeps, Lenzy is extremely dangerous.  With the bigger wide receivers and tight ends Notre Dame has recruited to block on the outside, Lenzy has the kind of speed to take a jet sweep and be deep in the defensive secondary quickly.
  • As a corner, his closing speed is elite.  There are a number of throws in the clip where Lenzy is able to close a lot of ground in a hurry to force an incompletion.  What there weren’t any examples of though we interceptions.  As a defender Lenzy has a lot of potential but he is much more advanced of a football player on offense.  On defense his elite athleticism allows him to excel.

Braden Lenzy looks like a perfect fit for the “Z” receiver position for Notre Dame.  His game is very much in the mold of CJ Sanders except Lenzy is quite a bit taller at 6’0″ compared to Sanders’s 5’8″.

Look for him to be a factor in the return game from day one for Notre Dame and for the Irish coaching staff to look to find ways to incorporate his speed into the offense.  At the Z position Notre Dame will have CJ Sanders, Michael Young, and most likely graduate transfer Freddy Canteen (he has two years left) ahead of Lenzy in 2018 so how much of that they do immediately will depend on the development of Sanders and Young and just how much they get out of Canteen.

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