Four-star WR Braden Lenzy commits to Notre Dame with a signature this time

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

In the final hours of the early signing period, Notre Dame football received one last familiar addition.

Braden Lenzy, a four-star wide receiver from Tigard (Ore.) High, announced his commitment to Notre Dame in a self-written story on The Players’ Tribune. Notre Dame confirmed his signing minutes later.

Lenzy picked the Irish over offers from Oregon and UCLA among others.

"Next year, I’m going to Notre Dame," Lenzy wrote on The Player's Tribune. "There were a lot of reasons I felt like it was the right choice for me, but ultimately it came down to a feeling."

The decision brings Lenzy’s recruitment full circle. He originally gave the Irish his verbal commitment in February. Four months later, he flipped his commitment to Oregon. But that pledge would eventually come to an end too.

Lenzy reopened his recruitment earlier this month as Oregon head coach Willie Taggart left for the same job at Florida State. Less than a week later, Lenzy returned to Notre Dame for an official visit and a chance to rebuild some broken relationships.

Some of Notre Dame’s committed recruits weren’t too pleased with Lenzy when he dropped the Irish in June. Defensive tackle Ja’mion Franklin infamously covered up Lenzy in a recruiting graphic depicting the current commits at the time with a pair of giant shamrocks on Twitter. Quarterback Phil Jurkovec tweeted, “Too many flaky people,” shortly after Lenzy shared his commitment flip publicly.

Lenzy wasn’t shy about his feelings on how the whole process played out either. In a story published in November on Duck Territory, a site covering Oregon for the 247Sports network, Lenzy detailed the reasons why he left Notre Dame’s class to join the Ducks. It boiled down to his ambition to run track in addition to playing football in college and whether or not the two sports would be treated equally

“The people that I planned to spend the next four or five years with, who I thought were very honorable men, completely lied to me,” Lenzy told Duck Territory in reference to Notre Dame. “They got me to commit into something that wasn’t really true.”

Whatever doubts Lenzy, who did not respond to ND Insider interview requests, had about playing football and running track at Notre Dame appear to have been erased. That should benefit the Irish.

The 6-foot, 175-pound Lenzy brings speed in both sports. On the football field, Lenzy joins Notre Dame’s class as a third wide receiver along with Kevin Austin and Micah Jones, who both signed Wednesday morning. 

The addition of Lenzy gives Notre Dame 21 recruits in its 2018 class. Rivals ranks the class No. 6 nationally. 247Sports pegs the Irish slightly lower at No. 8.

In 10 games as a senior, Lenzy totaled 1,010 yards of offense with 10 touchdowns in addition to seven interceptions and 35 tackles as a defensive back. He missed four games with what he described as a partially torn MCL in his knee.

“This is a major catch for Notre Dame because he’s so fast,” said CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. “He’s a track star. They really do need speed at the wide receiver position. This is a guy who can spread a defense.”

Lenzy repeated as Oregon’s Class 6A 400-meter dash state champion earlier this year with a time of 47.92 seconds. He finished second in the 200 with a 21.73 and fourth in the 100 with a 10.76. His fastest times of the season included a 10.62 in the 100 and a 21.34 in the 200.

If Lenzy can’t find traction at wide receiver, Lemming thinks his speed could be applied elsewhere too.

“He has All-American skills at both wide receiver and corner,” Lemming said. “He has elite speed, good length and is a very talented kick returner.”

247Sports slates Lenzy as the No. 4 athlete, a designation given to recruits who can play multiple positions, in the 2018 class. Rivals ranks him as the No. 13 athlete.

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

Below are highlights of Lenzy from his senior season via Hudl.

Great to have Braden Lenzy's competitiveness as a part of our program!

Not only will he be a great addition to our locker room, but he has the traits to be a very special student-athlete.#IrishBouND18pic.twitter.com/GIyFn2wpOa

— Brian Kelly (@CoachBrianKelly) December 22, 2017

✍️ @blspeedy21!

SPEED. ELUSIVE. DYNAMIC.

A dual-sport athlete who will compete collegiately on the field and the track and will give % to everything he does.#GoIrish#IrishBouND18pic.twitter.com/IlmCVXrCuz

— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) December 22, 2017

We are thrilled to welcome another west-coast difference maker! https://t.co/z0vVK9A4Kh

— Brian Polian (@BrianPolian) December 22, 2017

#WeAreND

— Brian Kelly (@CoachBrianKelly) December 22, 2017

Dear Santa,

Thank you for the early Christmas present. It was very thoughtful.

Sincerely,

Aaryn @blspeedy21 ☘️ pic.twitter.com/JbY9irDFm2

— Aaryn Kearney - AK (@aarynkearney) December 22, 2017

Four-star wide receiver Braden Lenzy announced his commitment Friday night. (Photo courtesy of Tigard Times/Dan Brood)