Film Study: Notre Dame WR commit Braden Lenzy
WR Braden Lenzy, 6-0, 175; Tigard (Ore.) High.
The numbers: Lenzy caught 43 passes for 840 yards and five touchdowns during his junior season. He also rushed 12 times for 142 yards for Tigard. The Tigers (10-4) lost in double overtime to Portland Central Catholic in the OSAA Class 6A state semifinals.
The rankings: 247Sports – Four stars, No. 14 athlete. Rivals – Four stars, No. 15 athlete.
First impression: Lenzy is a speedy receiver with touchdown potential on any play. In addition to his speed, Lenzy plays comfortably with the ball in his hands and doesn’t shy away from contact. Lenzy could be the big-play receiver in future Notre Dame offenses.
Strengths: Lenzy clearly has a go-to route, but that hasn’t led to defenders figuring out how to stop it. He fakes an inside route and fades to the sideline to create plenty of space for his quarterback to deliver him the ball. The threat of his speed locks up defenders when he cuts. When Lenzy hits full speed, it’s hard to track him down. With the ball in his hand, Lenzy has the patience to find running lanes as a receiver, running back or returner. As a defender, Lenzy has shown a liking for playing physical. He’s not afraid to throw out a stiff arm as a ball carrier too.
Proof of prowess: (1:23) How do you stop that? Lenzy secures outside position at the snap and heads down the sideline to the end zone. The quarterback places the ball over Lenzy’s outside shoulder and he contorts to catch the ball for a touchdown while falling to the ground … (2:02) Lenzy catches the ball out of the backfield and shows his ability to read blocks. He ducks inside his lineman and then back outside to find the room to get to the end zone … (2:10) No clip shows Lenzy’s speed more than him chasing down this ball carrier. He starts on the opposite side of the field and sprints to make the tackle at the 20-yard line on a play that could have easily been a touchdown.
Competition level: Oregon doesn’t have a reputation for producing a lot of FBS level talent, but Lenzy played against many of the best teams in the state. The Tigard schedule included games against six of the top 20 teams in the state, according to MaxPreps rankings. The Tigers lost to the No. 1 (West Linn) and No. 2 (Portland Central Catholic) teams in Oregon. Lenzy did not play against many defensive backs at his talent level.
Left to prove: Like many young receivers, Lenzy has room to expand his route-running repertoire. His success on film came primarily on the previously mentioned in-and-out route and a deep drag route in the middle of the field. Working on more variety with crisp routes will allow Lenzy to become a complete receiver. Lenzy’s speed has drawn comparisons to former Irish wide receiver Will Fuller from some, but the biggest difference between the two at this point in their careers is Fuller’s ability to make moves and avoid defenders at close to full speed. Lenzy doesn't seem to have mastered that yet. Lenzy lacks the size of a typical possession receiver, but a knack for hauling in jump balls could make him a more valuable deep threat as well.
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