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.
#16 Deion Colzie, WR
Deion Colzie arrives this summer fresh off lighting up the track in Athens, Georgia. As the #101 overall recruit and #16 wide receiver in the 2021 class, he was highly sought after by schools all over the country including the Alabama Crimson Tide, Michigan Wolverines, and his hometown Georgia Bulldogs.
Colzie had a mildly dramatic recruitment. He initially committed to Notre Dame after visiting for the 2019 USC game, then decommitted and re-opened his recruitment on March 20, 2020. He was considered a heavy lean to the Bulldogs at the time of his decommitment, given his ties to the program and Athens residence. However, the Irish ultimately prevailed and secured his recommitment on September 28, and he signed early on December 16.
Colzie has an outstanding physique at 6’3” and 215 pounds, and also possesses unusual speed for a receiver of his size and strength - did I mention he was a state medalist in track and field? That combination of athletic traits screams downfield and red-zone target, and Colzie was indeed praised throughout his recruitment for his ability to track the ball over his shoulder and gain separation from defenders. His skillset and Notre Dame pledge led scouts and beat writers to compare him to previous big-bodied Irish receivers like Chase Claypool, Michael Floyd, Jeff Samardzija and Maurice Stovall. No pressure, Deion.
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Wide receiver is one of the biggest question marks on a Notre Dame offense that is full of them heading into 2021, so it’s hard to project what exactly Colzie’s role will be. His size, athleticism, hands and tracking ability all mark him as an obvious candidate for the boundary position in Notre Dame’s offense, a position vacated by the departures of Javon McKinley and Ben Skowronek. Assuming he is in good health and good standing with the staff, Kevin Austin is the favorite to take on a starting role at that position. Austin has star potential of his own and could be a centerpiece of Notre Dame’s passing attack in 2021.
The good news for Colzie is that after the offseason transfers of Jordan Johnson and Micah Jones, there are no other real candidates for the job besides him and Austin. Tommy Rees also showed last year that he had no opposition to playing multiple big receivers at once, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see both Colzie and Austin on the field at the same time. If he can prove himself as a run blocker and a collegiate pass-catcher, Colzie has the athleticism to be an impact player right away, especially in those red zone and jumbo packages.