Patience the word for Notre Dame WR target Lawrence Cager

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Lawrence Cager has plenty of physical attributes to praise.

The senior wide receiver prospect has the size, speed and athletic ability that has led to more than 40 college scholarship offers. But when asked for the most impressive part of Cager’s senior season, his head coach points to his patience.

Donald Davis, head football coach at Calvert Hall in Baltimore, described the constant double and triple coverage thrown at Cager from opposing defenses. Cager doesn’t complain and waits for his opportunities while his teammates are asked to make plays.

“A kid like that could easily get frustrated by his circumstances and he hasn’t,” Davis said. “He’s totally understood it. It hasn’t changed his work ethic. It hasn’t changed his attitude. Ultimately, the bottom line for him is about the team and about winning. I like that.”

Patience also comes into play with Notre Dame’s recruitment of Cager. The 6-foot-5, 207-pound recruit had long been in touch with Irish tight ends coach Scott Booker, who recruits in Maryland for Notre Dame, but an offer didn’t come his way until recently.

Booker visited the area in mid-September to watch Cager play against John Carroll. Even a game-winning touchdown catch wasn’t enough to produce an offer for Cager. The wait finally ended almost a month later when the Irish formally offered Cager on Oct. 14.

“It was exciting because I know I can really take them seriously, really start to plan my visit and really think of them as a potential top school,” Cager said.

Cager has reserved one of his five official visits for Notre Dame. He plans to make the trip in December for the team’s annual awards banquet. The delay on an offer didn’t hurt Notre Dame’s chances.

“Coach Booker made it known what was going on,” Cager said. “He loved me in person, but they still needed to see some other recruits to make sure I was the one. He said by a longshot I was the one.”

The Irish have been looking for one more wide receiver with size to join its 2015 recruiting class. They hosted four-star receiver Equanimeous St. Brown (6-5, 200) in early October for the Stanford game. With no movement on a commitment from St. Brown, the Irish started to line up another option in Cager.

In Cager, the Irish are targeting a lengthy receiver with high potential. 247Sports slates Cager as a four-star prospect and the No. 17 wide receiver in the 2015 class. Rivals rates him as a three-star recruit and the No. 44 wide receiver.

“Every now and again he does something,” Davis said, “and I say, ‘You know what? He might be able to do this. Or he might be able to do that.’ It’s an ever-evolving thing.”

The measurables will raise eyebrows. In addition to his size, Cager claims a 40-yard dash time in the 4.5-second range. He also owns elite leaping ability. He set a personal record in the spring with a 6-foot-8 high jump. For comparison’s sake, a jump of 6-11 won the New Balance Nationals Outdoor high school event in June.

He’s molded himself into a complete receiver with the collection of skills.

“Sometimes you can get a tall kid like that and push him around a little bit because he’s skinny,” Davis said. “But now you have a kid that’s solid, he can run because he’s not a plodder, he can jump out of the building and he’s 6-5. It’s a good combination of things to have to play the position.”

Cager said he was told to watch Irish wide receiver Corey Robinson play to picture himself in head coach Brian Kelly’s offense. Robinson’s performance against Florida State – eight catches for 99 yards and two touchdowns – certainly didn’t hurt ND’s cause. Cager immediately noted that Robinson should have had three touchdown catches, a nod to the controversial pass interference penalty.

Irish quarterback commit Brandon Wimbush, who Cager met at The Opening, and cornerback commit Ashton White, who is also from Maryland, have already started getting in Cager’s ear about Notre Dame. There will be plenty of time for the Irish to make a complete pitch to Cager. He doesn’t plan on committing until the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January.

Cager will be well-traveled by then. He will make an official visit to Virginia Tech this weekend and follow that up with trips to Wake Forest, Ohio State, Alabama and Notre Dame. Cager also mentioned Ole Miss, Miami and Georgia as schools still in the running for his commitment.

Following one of those visits, Cager expects the decision to be clear. Patience will win out.

“The ultimate factor is the closest feeling to home,” Cager said. “I’ll be there for the next four years away from parents by myself. I’m looking for the one place once I finish the visit that I’ll know this is the place I want to go.”

Below are highlights of Cager from the start of his senior season, via Hudl.

tjames@ndinsider.com | 574-235-6214 | Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Lawrence Cager, a 2015 wide receiver target, plans to visit Notre Dame in December. (Photo courtesy of Student Sports)