July is usually a slow month for college football coaches, a time to recharge the batteries before gearing up for the season ahead. But for Brian Kelly and his staff, it’s been especially frenetic, as Notre Dame continues to build its future depth charts.
The Irish coaching staff accepted the commitment of 2014 Indianapolis wide receiver Justin Brent this evening, with Brent making his commitment public on IrishSportsDaily.com’s weekly Power Hour podcast. The Speedway High School product, who had 40 catches for 419 yards and 10 touchdowns as a sophomore last season, also made the news public on his Twitter account.
“Excited to announce I’ve committed and will be playing college football for the University of Notre Dame,” Brent said via Twitter. “Blessed to officially be on board!!”
At 6-foot-3, Brent’s an incredibly intriguing prospect that brings some much needed size to the position. After camping with the Irish in hopes of earning his first scholarship offer, Brent got exactly that from offensive coordinator Chuck Martin last Friday on a private tour of campus.
From there, it didn’t take long for the in-state product to make up his mind, joining Greer Martini in the ’14 recruiting class, another incredibly early commitment by a coaching staff that continues to plow along despite a 2012 season that at best could be called a year stuck in neutral on the field.
Brent was early in the recruiting process, entertaining interest from schools like Ohio State, Michigan and Northwestern yet still without official offers. Like Steve Elmer last season, Brent’s decision to come off the board early won’t likely effect his proverbial recruiting stock, with Rivals.com’s Josh Helmholdt expecting him to be one of the region’s best receiving prospect, even if he’s understandably raw.
One interesting trend starting to emerge is Kelly and the current coaching staff’s ability to keep elite local talent at Notre Dame. In Charlie Weis’ era with the Irish, he signed eight Indiana natives to scholarships, with the best talents being Tyler Eifert, Braxston Cave, and Zack Martin. Kelly has already equaled that number, with high profile players like Gunner Kiel, Sheldon Day, and Jaylon Smith potentially elite recruits, and guys like Nick Martin having plenty of potential as well. After only signing Martin and Kuntz out of Indianapolis, Kelly has done a great job locking down players from the area, one of the talent-rich metropolitan areas that is actually in Notre Dame’s backyard.
Brent will begin his junior football season for Speedway this fall, and is eligible to sign with Notre Dame in 2014.