Notebook: WR Kevin Austin set to make commitment Friday

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Notre Dame could have two wide receivers committed to its 2018 recruiting class very soon.

Four-star wide receiver Kevin Austin, a senior at Coconut Creek (Fla.) North Broward Prep, is set to announce his decision at some point on Friday. Austin declined to do an interview until after his commitment, but he did indicate the announcement would likely come in the morning.

Austin has been focusing on four schools since April: Notre Dame, Miami, Duke and Tennessee. The Irish have long been considered one of the favorites. Austin attended Notre Dame’s Blue-Gold Game shortly before cutting down his list.

At that point in the recruiting cycle, Notre Dame had received two wide receiver commitments from Micah Jones and Braden Lenzy. But Lenzy, a four-star recruit, flipped his pledge to Oregon in June.

Lenzy (6-foot, 175 pounds) and Austin (6-3, 185) bring different skill sets to the position, but the loss of Lenzy increased Notre Dame’s need for a dynamic receiver.

Austin would fit that mold. He consistently made plays at The Opening Finals earlier this summer while surrounded by some of the best recruits in the country.

Wide receiver coach DelVaughn Alexander has made sure to let Austin know where the Irish picture him.

“He was telling me that of course I'm still their No. 1 option and they really want me,” Austin said in June.

247Sports slates Austin as the No. 20 wide receiver in the 2018 class. Rivals ranks him No. 28 at the position.

As a junior, Austin caught 41 passes for 1,021 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Austin’s announcement sits on a short list of important moments for Notre Dame recruiting in August. The month is a dead period in recruiting, which prohibits recruits from visiting college football programs and coaches from visiting recruits on the road.

With both college and high school teams preparing for the starts of their seasons, the news from recruits tends to be limited in August. Yet some recruits want to make their commitments before the season gets rolling.

Indianapolis cornerback D.J. Johnson also plans to announce his decision this month. The 6-0, 170-pound senior at North Central High will choose either Notre Dame or Iowa on Aug. 22.

247Sports slates Johnson as a four-star recruit and the No. 27 cornerback. Rivals ranks him as a three-star recruit and the No. 37 cornerback.

Mustipher to PSU

Notre Dame won’t be doubling up on Mustiphers.

Defensive tackle PJ Mustipher, the younger brother of Irish center Sam Mustipher, announced his verbal commitment to Penn State on Monday.

Notre Dame jumped in on PJ Mustipher’s recruitment early with a scholarship offer in April 2016. But that still came more than a year after Penn State extended an offer.

The Irish landed two defensive tackle commitments in the 2018 class before Mustipher made a decision: Jayson Ademilola, a four-star recruit, and Ja’mion Franklin, a three-star recruit.

The 6-5, 290-pound Mustipher is projected as a four-star recruit. 247Sports slates him as the No. 7 defensive tackle in the class. Rivals ranks him No. 8 at the position.

New OL offer

Notre Dame likely needs two more offensive linemen in the 2018 class. The search to find more options continued Sunday night when Chris Murray reported a scholarship offer from the Irish.

The 6-3, 290-pound Murray added Notre Dame to a list of offers that already included Stanford, UCLA, Washington and others. Murray attends the same high school, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei, that produced former Irish linebacker Joe Schmidt. Murray also teams with Amon-Ra St. Brown, the youngest brother of Notre Dame wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown.

247Sports slates Murray as a four-star recruit and the No. 6 offensive guard. Rivals ranks him as a three-star recruit and the No. 32 offensive guard.

Beyond Murray, three offensive linemen have shown serious interest in Notre Dame and remain uncommitted: Jamaree Salyer, Nicholas Petit-Frere and Sam Taimani. All three have Irish offers and have made unofficial visits to South Bend.

Notre Dame’s two committed offensive lineman, John Dirksen and Cole Mabry, are projected as three-star recruits.

Oweh decision

Four-star defensive end Jayson Oweh appeared to be nearing a decision after making July visits to Notre Dame, Penn State and Ohio State.

But not long after finishing his summer visits, Oweh changed his plan with a major delay. Oweh will now announce his commitment at the Under Armour All-America Game in January.

The change gives all three programs more time to convince the 6-5, 236-pound Oweh that their school is the right choice. But because Oweh plans to wait until January, it will also be up to the various coaching staffs if they want to pursue other defensive ends to avoid missing out on Oweh.

Unless the program has a ton of talented options at defensive end, that could be a mistake. Oweh has been a fast riser in recruiting rankings as he’s shown his athleticism and high ceiling as a pass rusher.

247Sports slates Oweh, a senior at Blairstown (N.J.) Blair Academy, as the No. 8 strongside defensive end. Rivals ranks him No. 12 at the position.

2019 rankings

Less than a month after Notre Dame received its first verbal commitments in the 2019 recruiting class, Rivals released its first ranking of the top 250 junior prospects.

Both Notre Dame commitments made the list. Defensive tackle Jacob Lacey received the highest ranking at No. 231 overall. The 6-2, 300-pound recruit was ranked as the No. 9 defensive tackle.

Quarterback Cade McNamara landed a few spots behind Lacey at No. 236 overall. The 6-1, 186-pounder was pegged as the No. 6 pro-style quarterback in the class.


Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Four-star wide receiver Kevin Austin, a 2018 recruit, verbally committed to Notre Dame. (Photo courtesy of Rivals)