Notre Dame will have only one receiver remaining from the combined recruiting classes of 2019 and 2020 once sophomore Jay Brunelle enters the transfer portal, as multiple Wednesday reports have indicated is expected.
The sophomore did not appear in a game in 2020, not altogether a shock for any freshman, let alone a consensus three-star recruit joining Notre Dame in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic which limited practice continuity and development opportunities. Furthermore, Brunelle suffered a shoulder injury late in his senior season of high school (2019) that would have held him out of 2020’s spring practices upon his early enrollment, if there had been 2020 spring practices. A balky hamstring limited Brunelle this past spring, keeping him out of the Blue-Gold Game.
Brunelle joins classmate Jordan Johnson in transferring, leaving only Xavier Watts from their class.
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The previous recruiting cycle’s receiver haul consisted of Cam Hart — now a cornerback, possibly a starter — and arguably Kendall Abdur-Rahman, who also spent time at running back, but either way, also transferred this offseason.
The Irish are left with nine receivers, including two freshmen who have yet to get to campus.
Field receiver: Senior Braden Lenzy; sophomore Xavier Watts; freshman Jayden Thomas.
Boundary receiver: Senior Kevin Austin; senior Joe Wilkins; freshman Deion Colzie.
Slot receiver: Fifth-year Avery Davis; senior Lawrence Keys; freshman Lorenzo Styles.
That being a very rough depth chart, Notre Dame should be alright for the 2021 season despite Brunelle’s and Johnson’s transfers, but 2022 and 2023 concerns may begin to arise once the Lenzy-Austin-Wilkins-Keys class matriculates.
Of course, the fix to that may be the same as the cause. Transfers are now a constant part of college football, with all players allowed one transfer without having to sit the following season.
Brunelle chose the Irish over Michigan and UCLA.
Johnson ended up at Central Florida, and Abdur-Rahman landed at Western Kentucky.