The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have a roster full of players, and we want to talk about them all. One Foot Down’s player profile series will, once again, take a look at every single one of them, and hopefully we all learn a little bit more about these guys, and Notre Dame’s chances for the upcoming 2021 season.
#13 Lawrence Keys III, WR
Lawrence Keys was a huge win for the Irish and committed to Notre Dame on National Signing Day as a 4-Star prospect over offers from the Texas Longhorns, Alabama Crimson Tide, LSU Tigers and many others.
This New Orleans, Louisiana native is heading into a new season with a new focus on conditioning, and coach Brian Kelly has taken notice. While he saw no gameplay until his sophomore season with the Irish as he developed his body to be bigger and stronger, he wasted no time proving he can deliver in high-pressure games. In 2019, Keys claimed three catches for 35 yards against the Georgia Bulldogs and a 27-yard reception in the Navy game. His biggest impact, however, may have come on special team as he returned 10 punts for 194 yards — which makes for a really nice average.
In his junior season, fans saw Keys make five catches for 51 yards and finish out with a 20-yard reception in the Rose Bowl. It was a wildly disappointing season for Keys as there were many expectations going into the year. Injuries, and the apparent COVID hit really set Keys back.
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Panera strikes that nice balance between adaptability and predictability. Sure, some surprises are great, but it’s always nice to know your go-to soup will return in the fall. Fans have watched Keys improve, and it could be the beginning of a new flow.
Kelly now looks to Keys, Braden Lenzy and Joe Wilkins Jr. for some predictability in the WR spot. For Keys to truly shine, it all comes down to staying consistent. He’s been bringing it in the weight room and has been tremendous so far in practice this spring — but time will tell how much of an impact he will make. The wide receiver position has been one of the hardest to predict in the Kelly era.
On the three receivers, Kelly said, “They have got to ascent to the championship level. They’ve been good, don’t get me wrong, they’ve been good, I need them to move to that great level. They’re capable of it, and we’re seeing some signs, but this is all wrapped up in those three guys really taking that next step.”
Keys has definitely stood out this spring with a stronger body, and a nice handful of highlights to showcase his big playmaking ability. Certainly we are all just waiting to see it pop this fall.
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