This guy is fast...
Braden Lenzy is the second Wide Receiver commit of the 2018 class. The 6'0" 170 pound 4-star athlete out of Portland, Oregon is an important component of this recruiting class. Lenzy fills the speed aspect of the position for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and provides a nice compliment to the physical presence of fellow future classmate Micah Jones.
In the film review, one of the first examples showing his overall athletic ability is his ability to adjust his pattern at the mesh point in a crossing route. This requires good body control in avoiding the other receiver running another crossing route from the opposite side. Lenzy had to side step his teammate that had drifted too deep in his route. Coaching point here is to show Lenzy is able to recognize and be aware of what's going on around him. He looks for openings in the zone and will adjust accordingly.
Lenzy exhibits a good burst off the snap and accelerates quickly, which is a testimony to him being a track athlete as well. You can see even more evidence of this with the correct body lean and arm placement when he comes off the snap. He possess impressive body control to avoid big hits, and looks like a natural while running in the open field.
On one play in particular, Lenzy illustrated a disciplined route on a double post move. He never lost speed or his placement on the field. This allowed his QB a good look at him, and room to place the ball. Lenzy looks the ball in and catches with his hands, not allowing it to reach his body. Out of the backfield on screen calls, Lenzy plants and maintains good depth behind the line. This is essential because it gives the QB a good view to see him. Secondly, it allows the line to get down field and to develop their blocks.
He has an effortless running style, has good vision, and shows no waste in motion that allows him to keep his speed without losing ground. His speed will improve when he polishes up on his technique to become an even more disciplined runner. As I've said before, there is always a big jump in skill set from junior to senior year due to the physical maturity that naturally occurs. He is very close to having Will Fuller type speed. The only difference I see when looking at both of their junior year films, is Fuller had a bit more top end speed.
Lenzy is a nightmare matchup one on one. This will require double coverage or a tight cover 2. As the defense adjusts to try and counter his play making ability, it will benefit the other receivers. The coverage will roll to Lenzy’s side and allow more openings to occur with the other wide outs, thus giving the QB other options down field. Offensive coordinators love to create an unbalanced field to exploit. Lenzy is a guy who can accomplish this task.
Like most young receivers, Lenzy needs to work on running crisper patterns- specifically his crossing routes. As mentioned above, he would often have to re-route his pattern to avoid the other receiver running the same route from the opposite side. That's the good part. But on a couple of occasions, Lenzy would start drifting back on this type of pattern getting him to close to the deep safety or on a curl, make too wide of a turn. Lenzy did show a time or two that, even though he would catch the ball with his hands, he would begin rotating his body a little too soon before he tucked it in. This is a habit that will lead to easy drops when the velocity of the pass changes from high school level to the college level. Small issues to be sure, but ones that typically are corrected with more in depth coaching and becoming more seasoned as a player.
Lenzy is a tremendous pick up for the Fighting Irish. It continues a surge in momentum for the recruiting efforts for the class of 2018. He is being recruited to play WR, but you can see where he could be utilized at many positions.
One position I think he will have an immediate impact is on kick returns. Lenzy sees holes open quickly and that is something that doesn’t require a tremendous amount of instruction. You either have this ability or you don’t, Lenzy has it.
In summary, Lenzy simply has the speed you look for in a player that can turn a game around with his natural ability and talent. If you look back to the 2015 season, you can observe how Will Fuller made Deshone Kizer a better QB by just being on the field. Speed is the great equalizer. It not only creates the chance for a big play by the guy who possesses it, but allows the other skill players on offense an opportunity to produce due to the attention a player like Lenzy requires.
A dynamic element has been added to the Notre Dame recruiting class of 2018 and Lenzy is the spark.