The latest catch for Notre Dame football? A four-star wide receiver.
The NCAA dictates August as a dead period for college football recruiting, but that didn’t stop the Irish from adding another verbal commitment to its 2018 class.
On Friday, Kevin Austin announced on Twitter his pledge to the Irish. He did not respond to Tribune interview requests.
“After long discussions with my family,” Austin wrote in his statement on Twitter, “I would like to announce that I am committed to The University of Notre Dame.”
The addition of Austin extends Notre Dame’s mid-summer hot streak in recruiting. The Irish have gained four commitments in the 2018 class and two in the 2019 class since July 17.
The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Austin gives Notre Dame a second wide receiver to pair with Micah Jones (6-5, 202) and the 16th commitment in the class. With Austin in the class, the Irish moved inside the top 10 nationally according to both Rivals (No. 8) and 247Sports (No. 9).
Austin committed to the Irish before embarking on his senior season at Coconut Creek (Fla.) North Broward Prep. Last year, Austin caught 41 passes for 1,021 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also rushed 46 times for 454 yards and six touchdowns.
"He has good size, really good hands,” said CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. “He would be a four-plus guy.
“The state is absolutely loaded with great wide receivers this year in Florida. He's not top five, but he's between 5 and 10. He'd probably be the top guy in the Midwest if he was in the Midwest.
“He can stretch the defense. He has good, not great, speed. He has the length and strong hands. When I was down there, a lot of people were saying good things about him."
247Sports slates Austin as the No. 20 wide receiver in the 2018 class. Rivals ranks him No. 28 at the position.
Austin, who picked Notre Dame ahead of Miami, Duke, Tennessee and others, took advantage of the opportunity to compete at the Rivals Five-Star Challenge and The Opening Finals in June and July. Recruiting analysts gave him high grades following both camps.
Austin has kept a close eye on Notre Dame’s new offense under coordinator Chip Long. He saw a version of the offense in action when he attended the Blue-Gold Game in April.
“He's starting to give the wide receivers more opportunities to go deep, go get touchdowns and go make plays after the catch,” Austin said in June.
Notre Dame will likely continue pursuing other wide receiver recruits with an emphasis on speed. Four-star recruit Braden Lenzy was supposed to help fill that role, but he flipped his commitment from Notre Dame to Oregon in June.
The Irish will have to work to hold onto Austin as well. In previous interviews, Austin has indicated that he plans to take official visits to other schools after his commitment.
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