Notre Dame 99-to-0: No. 0 Braden Lenzy, senior receiver, speed threat

Braden Lenzy
ACC Media
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Listed measurements: 5-foot-11 ⅜, 181 pounds.
2021-22 year, eligibility: A senior, Lenzy has two seasons of eligibility remaining courtesy of not playing as a freshman and then the universal pandemic eligibility waiver.
Depth Chart: Notre Dame has every expectation of Lenzy starting on the field (wide) side of the field and will give him a multitude of chances to prove himself there as long as he is healthy.
Recruiting: A consensus four-star prospect, Lenzy de-committed from the Irish to head to Oregon with an understanding that he could also run track at historic Hayward Field, but when Ducks head coach Willie Taggart took the gig at Florida State, Lenzy once again returned to Notre Dame’s class, despite a late charge from UCLA with newly-installed Chip Kelly at the helm.

NAME, IMAGE, LIKENESS
A self-proclaimed “Anime Lover,” it only made sense Lenzy would find a way to monetize his preferred hobby.

CAREER TO DATE
Lenzy’s career thus far is a story of unavailability. Between concussions, nagging hamstring issues and pandemic protocols, he has managed to play in only 16 of 25 games the last two seasons, not to mention missing all of 2018 for some hybrid of those slowings and a want to preserve a year of eligibility.

Nonetheless, Lenzy shined in 2019, taking a total of 24 touches for 454 yards and four touchdowns. When the ball was in his hands, be it off a handoff, a sweep masquerading as a pass or a genuine downfield throw, Lenzy made things happen.

Then his hamstrings refused to let him find a rhythm in 2020, cutting short his season for all intents and purposes in October, after limiting him throughout September.

2018: Did not play.
2019: 9 games; 11 catches for 254 yards and two touchdowns with 13 rushes for 200 yards and two more scores.
2020: 7 games; 7 catches for 63 yards and one touchdown with three rushes for 8 yards.

QUOTES
It has never been a question of talent with Lenzy. His hands have never been a weakness, and his speed is described as “track speed” only because it defies most football expressions.

But workload and fragility have cost him, so the Irish attempted to build more gradually this spring.

Braden Lenzy, the last couple days, has really come on,” offensive coordinator Tommy Rees said in mid-April. “I’m excited about the trust that we’re building there in order for him to be an expanded role and hand him more on his plate.”

2021 OUTLOOK
It sounds simplistic, but it remains true: Lenzy’s success will come down to health. He has shown he can excel at the collegiate level. There are not enough quality cornerbacks on Notre Dame’s schedule to truly hamper him this season. Only his hamstrings can do that.

The Irish do not need Lenzy to be a 50-catch receiver, or even a 40-catch receiver. His 2019 effectiveness would do plenty to worry opposing defenses on every snap.

If Lenzy ends 2021 with literally two catches in every game, but one of them is always for at least 20 yards, it will mean Notre Dame’s offense found a gear it has lacked for a few years. That may sound meager, but it would be 25 catches for at least 300 yards and more likely closer to 450.

Add in a few long touchdowns and Lenzy’s impact will gain more notoriety.

Measuring expectations for Lenzy may not feel necessary given his talent is proven, but doing so may also measure his workload, which should then lead to more efficient usage. Lenzy’s snaps and targets should not be about quantity, but about quality.

DOWN THE ROAD
From there, Lenzy can return in 2022 and add some more muscle to his frame to become a more consistent receiving option. He will never be a classic possession receiver, but that is also not his skill set, nor a common player in the NFL anymore.

If Lenzy can prove healthy for an extended stretch, then the NFL will want to take a chance on him. Two years totaling 60-plus catches and 1,200 yards will get the NFL’s attention.

NOTRE DAME 99-TO-0
Let’s try this again
No. 99 Rylie Mills, sophomore defensive tackle
No. 98 Alexander Ehrensberger, sophomore defensive end
No. 97 Gabriel Rubio, early-enrolled freshman defensive tackle the size of a Volkswagen
No. 95 Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, fifth-year defensive tackle-turned-end
No. 92 Aidan Keanaaina, sophomore defensive tackle
No. 91 Joshua Bryan, incoming freshman kicker
No. 88 Mitchell Evans, early-enrolled freshman tight end, a former high school quarterback
No. 87 Michael Mayer, star sophomore tight end and lead offensive weapon
No. 85 George Takacs, senior tight end, ‘152 years old’
No. 84 Kevin Bauman, sophomore tight end
No. 83 Jayden Thomas, freshman receiver, four-star prospect out of Georgia
No. 82 Xavier Watts, sophomore receiver
No. 81 Jay Brunelle, speedy sophomore receiver
No. 80 Cane Berrong, early-enrolled freshman tight end
No. 79 Tosh Baker, sophomore offensive tackle
No. 78 Pat Coogan, incoming freshman center
No. 77 Quinn Carroll, junior offensive lineman
No. 76 Joe Alt, incoming and towering freshman offensive lineman
No. 75 Josh Lugg, fifth-year right tackle, finally a starter
No. 73 Andrew Kristofic, junior offensive tackle, possible backup center
No. 72 Caleb Johnson, early-enrolled offensive tackle, former Auburn commit
No. 70 Hunter Spears, junior offensive guard, former defensive tackle
No. 68 Michael Carmody, sophomore offensive tackle
No. 62 Marshall guard Cain Madden transfers to Notre Dame, likely 2021 starter
No. 57 Jayson Ademilola, senior defensive tackle
No. 56 John Dirksen, senior reserve offensive lineman
No. 56 Howard Cross, junior defensive tackle
No. 55 Jarrett Patterson, the best Irish offensive lineman
No. 55 Kahanu Kia, freshman linebacker, Hawaiian, LDS member
No. 54 Jacob Lacey, junior defensive tackle
No. 54 Blake Fisher, early-enrolled freshman left tackle, starter?
No. 52 Zeke Correll, junior, starting center
No. 52 Bo Bauer, senior linebacker, #BeADog
No. 50 Rocco Spindler, early-enrolled freshman offensive guard
No. 48 Will Schweitzer, early-enrolled freshman defensive end
No. 47 Jason Onye, incoming and raw freshman defensive end
No. 44 Devin Aupiu, early-enrolled freshman defensive end
No. 44 Alex Peitsch and No. 65 Michael Vinson, Irish long snappers, both needed
No. 41 Kurt Hinish, fifth-year defensive tackle, eventual record-holder in games played
No. 40 Drew White, fifth-year linebacker, three-year starter
No. 39 Jonathan Doerer, fifth-year kicker, using the pandemic exception
No. 35 Marist Liufau, junior Hawaiian linebacker
No. 34 Osita Ekwonu, junior defensive end
No. 33 Shayne Simon, senior linebacker
No. 32 Prince Kollie, freshman linebacker, Butkus Award winner
No. 29 Matt Salerno, senior punt returner, walk-on
No. 29 Khari Gee, freshman safety, former LSU commit
No. 28 TaRiq Bracy, senior cornerback, possible nickel back
No. 27 JD Bertrand, junior linebacker
No. 26 Clarence Lewis, sophomore cornerback, second-year starter
No. 25 Philip Riley, early-enrolled freshman cornerback
No. 25 Chris Tyree, speedy sophomore running back
No. 24 Jack Kiser, junior linebacker, onetime pandemic hero
No. 24 Audric Estime, freshman running back, former Michigan State commit, four-star
No. 23 Litchfield Ajavon, junior safety
No. 23 Kyren Williams, junior running back
No. 22 Logan Diggs, incoming freshman running back
No. 21 Lorenzo Styles, early-enrolled freshman receiver
No. 21 Caleb Offord, sophomore cornerback
No. 20 C’Bo Flemister, senior running back, coming off an offseason with a smirch
No. 20 Justin Walters, early-enrolled freshman safety and likely early special teams contributor
No. 20 JoJo Johnson, freshman cornerback, former Cincinnati commit
No. 19 Jay Bramblett, junior punter
No. 19 Justin Ademilola, senior defensive end
No. 18 Joe Wilkins Jr., senior receiver, team favorite
No. 18 Nana Osafo-Mensah, junior defensive end, coming back from a knee injury
No. 18 Chance Tucker, freshman cornerback
No. 17 Jack Coan, graduate quarterback, Wisconsin transfer
No. 17 Jordan Botelho, sophomore defensive end, full-speed at all times
No. 16 Deion Colzie, incoming freshman receiver with both speed and leaping height
No. 16 KJ Wallace, junior safety, possible starting nickel back
No. 15 Ryan Barnes, early-enrolled freshman cornerback
No. 14 Kyle Hamilton, junior safety, preseason All-American, top 2022 draft prospect
No. 13 Paul Moala, senior linebacker coming off an Achilles injury
No. 13 Lawrence Keys, senior receiver
No. 12 Tyler Buchner, early-enrolled freshman quarterback, former four-star recruit
No. 12 DJ Brown, senior safety mired in a starting competition
No. 11 Ron Powlus III, early-enrolled freshman quarterback
No. 11 Ramon Henderson, sophomore cornerback with sprinter’s speed
No. 10 Drew Pyne, sophomore quarterback, likely No. 2
No. 10 Isaiah Pryor, graduate linebacker, 2020 Ohio State transfer
No. 7 Brendon Clark, junior quarterback with a knee worry
No. 7 Isaiah Foskey, star junior defensive end, Vyper
No. 5 Cam Hart, junior cornerback, expected boundary starter
No. 4 Kevin Austin, always-hyped, rarely-seen senior receiver
No. 3 Houston Griffith, senior safety needing to play with a ‘screwdriver’ more often
No. 3 Avery Davis, fifth-year receiver, Clemson hero, former quarterback