Notre Dame football recruiting: Brent speeding things up

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Justin Brent had been working on his 40-yard dash time, but was worried his new time was a fluke.

So the Notre Dame wide receiver commit continued to work out and recorded times in the 4.5-second range for about three weeks before finally feeling confident in the consistency of his improved speed.

On Wednesday, he posted a 4.51 time while running on grass for offseason workouts with his team. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound junior recruit has improved his time by more than a tenth of a second in the months following a state semifinals run on the basketball team at Speedway (Ind.) High School.

“I'd been doing it the last couple weeks and then Wednesday I kept getting it and decided it was finally something I can be proud of,” Brent said. “That's something I was really working on.”

Brent has worked with a trainer in Indianapolis, Derin Graham, through whom he’s formed a relationship with Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Tandon Doss. Doss, a product of Ben Davis High in Indianapolis, played at Indiana University and was on the Ravens Super Bowl roster in his third season as a pro.

Brent has used Doss as a sounding board during the recruiting process, a workout partner when he returns to Indianapolis during the offseason and a teacher when it comes to the nuances of playing receiver.

Last fall, Brent was bothered by linebackers trying to reroute him while running out routes from the slot position. So when Doss was in town during the Ravens’ bye week, Brent met with him and his trainer for some pointers.

“The next week, I scored off that play,” Brent said. “It was pretty cool to be able to make adjustments by picking his brain.”

Brent returned to Notre Dame for the Blue-Gold Game and is ecstatic to see the 2014 recruiting class grow in the past couple weeks. He hasn’t been as active recruiting other players as running back commit Elijah Hood (no one has), but he’s anxious to get to know more recruits.

“I guess we gotta thank Elijah a lot,” Brent said. “He's doing his thing. That's awesome. Better than me, because I don't know anybody.”

With an improved 40 time, Brent has moved his focus to other parts of his game. With more than a year left before he can report to Notre Dame in the summer of 2014, he knows he has a long way to go.

“I'm working on keeping the top-end speed in and out of cuts,” Brent said. “That's something that I want to start progressing on now that my 40 is going well.”

QB search expands

Since the departure of freshman quarterback Gunner Kiel, the Notre Dame coaching staff has started a deeper search into the 2014 quarterback talent pool.

A 2014 class without a quarterback seemed feasible after signing Everett Golson, Kiel and Malik Zaire in the last three years, and the Irish prior to April had only extended one offer to a true quarterback in the class — Brandon Dawkins of Oaks Christian in Westlake Village, Calif.

Now as the calendar has hit May, three pro-style quarterbacks have reported Irish offers during the spring evaluation period: Kyle Allen, David Cornwell and Jacob Park.

Allen, a 6-3, 195-pound quarterback at Desert Mountain High in Scottsdale, Ariz., teams with another ND target, wide receiver Mark Andrews, who visited for the Blue-Gold Game. Rivals ranks Allen as the No. 4 pro-style quarterback and 247Sports slates him at No. 5.

Cornwell, a 6-5, 235-pound prospect at Norman (Okla.) North High, ranks as the No. 2 pro-style quarterback according to both Rivals and 247Sports.

Park, a 6-3, 200-pound recruit from Stratford High in Goose Creek, S.C., ranks as the No. 7 pro-style quarterback on Rivals and No. 9 on 247Sports.

Official visit targeted

One tight end has already committed to Notre Dame’s 2014 class, but the Irish continue to pursue junior Tyler Luatua from La Mirada, Calif.

The 6-4, 240-pound prospect has mutual interest and has already set an official visit to Notre Dame for the Oct. 19 game against USC, per La Mirada High head coach Mike Moschetti. Luatua plans to make the trip with his parents.

“The family and Tyler, they love Notre Dame,” Moschetti said. “They’re very excited about it.” As Notre Dame’s lone home night game this season (the Irish play Arizona State in Texas in what is considered a home game), the USC game figures to be one of the bigger in-season recruiting weekends for the school.

Rivals ranks Luatua as the No. 9 athlete in the country and No. 49 overall. 247Sports slates him as the No. 1 tight end and No. 84 overall.

Staff writer Tyler James:

tjames1@sbtinfo.com