Wide receiver Kevin Austin – one of Notre Dame’s top remaining offensive targets – is set to announce his commitment tomorrow with a final four of Notre Dame, Duke, Miami, and Tennessee. Many have felt the Irish have led here for a while, but with decision day looming, will the Irish lock up the elite wide out?
Late Surge from Duke?
While Austin has four finalists, it is widely felt that this is a Notre Dame and Duke race and there’s been some chatter that the Blue Devils are making a late charge. Notre Dame was sitting at 100% on the 247Sports Crystal Ball for a while but Notre Dame recruiting analyst Kevin Sinclair changed his prediction on Austin to “cloudy” just yesterday.
On the other hand, Irish Sports Daily’s Matt Freeman just put in a prediction of his own in Notre Dame’s favor on Tuesday. So perhaps the late worry from Notre Dame fans is more anxious nerves given how important of a recruit Austin is for Notre Dame. With the Irish fading with Amon Ra St. Brown, Austin is right at the top of the recruiting board for Notre Dame.
Notre Dame has been the perceived leader here for a while for a number of reasons. The Irish have done a good job of recruiting from IMG Academy with Robert Hainsey in the class of 2017 and running Tony Jones – who is surging in camp – in the class of 2016. Notre Dame co-coordinator of strength and conditioning – David Ballou – joined the Irish staff earlier this year after working at IMG.
For more on just how good Austin is, check out Greg’s breakdown of him.
Golden Tate Working Hard for Notre Dame
Right after Austin tweeted that he would be announcing on August 11 last month, Notre Dame great Golden Tate was very quick to tweet at the prep star that he hoped Austin would be joining the Notre Dame family.
You know imma be dialed in for that announcement. Hope you decide to rock with us. We family forever over here #irish .
— Golden Tate (@ShowtimeTate) July 27, 2017
Hopefully the attention from Tate, a NFL star wide receiver, will help swing this one in favor of the Irish. Notre Dame would like to add another two wide receivers in addition to Micah Jones in this class after adding just two last year. Those two – Jafar Armstrong and Michael Young – were among a handful of freshmen who have been impressing the coaching staff early in camp though.
Jones is also keen on Austin joining the Notre Dame recruiting class.
— Micah Jones (@mej2018) July 25, 2017
Austin and Jones would give Notre Dame a great duo for this class to build on. Should Austin commit tomorrow, the Irish would likely focus on adding more of a speedy, slot type receiver. Notre Dame still hasn’t replaced Braden Lenzy’s skillset following his decommitment in the spring.