While linebacker has gotten most of the attention with some major departures, receiver has on big question. Figuring out who would be the third receiver seemed easier after last season wrapped up but it has only left more questions.
Kevin Austin was looking like he could be a dynamic player for the Fighting Irish out of high school. He backed that up with limited snaps last season finishing with 90 yards on five catches. Kevin Austin flashed some of that explosiveness that Notre Dame has lacked since Will Fuller left.
When asked recently about the third receiver spot, Brian Kelly mentioned Joe Wilkins, Braden Lenzy and Lawrence Keys. All three were in the same class as Austin but Austin was left out. Austin has had some up and down moments since he arrived in Notre Dame. Reports of some maturity issues have surfaced and could be a reason the talented receiver is being left out. Austin is also still a kid adjusting to college life so for things like this to arise doesn’t mean he won’t see the field again, he just has more work to do.
With Austin trying to work his way onto the field, the third receiver position still needs to be filled. Michael Young will be the likely candidate as the rising Junior also saw some action last season and played well. Young finished last season with seven catches for 138 yards and one touchdown. He averaged just under 20 yards a catch and has been in the offense for a few years. Coach Chip Long said Young has bulked up to around 190 and hasn’t lost a step.
As unfortunate as it is for Austin to suffer a setback, Notre Dame could be in good hands with Michael Young. This also isn’t to totally write Austin off. Spring practice is gearing back up after the players return from Spring break. Kelly could be using the snub as motivation to get a young player going. We have seen in the past, starters being left with the second units in the Spring. The season is still a few months off and they still have the rest of Spring to work out some kinks.
If Austin isn’t the answer, Notre Dame will likely find the production from somewhere else with the talent brought in. Michael Young is the likely heir to the spot that has had Notre Dame fans wondering about since Boykin left. If one of the younger guys previously mentioned outperforms Michael Young would be all the better for Notre Dame. Young has shown he can be the explosive playmaker and seems to be building onto his game. For someone to knock him off the top would mean even more talent for an improving Chip Long offense.
Started Saturday Tailgate in 2018. Covering all things college football and talking Notre Dame on Twitter.