Notre Dame recruit Cam Hart, like all young Irish athletes, will get his opportunity early

Cam Hart
Notre Dame wide receivers coach Del Alexander speaks with the media following a practice this spring at the Guglielmino Athletics Complex in South Bend. (By Tom Davis of

Second-year Notre Dame wide receiver coach Del Alexander has a brutally honest mantra that he preaches within his wide receivers’ room that has to resonate with some in a negative manner but others in a positive sense.

“There is a saying in my room,” Alexander said this spring, “and the players may not like it but everyone in that room will be replaced one day. They decide how soon.”

For a veteran pass-catcher, perhaps that is viewed as a challenge but for an incoming athlete, it could be an opportunity.

That is likely how Maryland high school standout Cam Hart will view that philosophy upon coming to South Bend next summer.

The senior-to-be at Good Counsel High School (Olney, Maryland) verbally committed to the Fighting Irish program on Wednesday and he’ll hear the same message from Alexander that a number of freshmen are currently hearing this summer after arriving on campus last month.

“It’s the same with me,” Alexander said. “Every one of us will be replaced. The players see the tags on the board, they know that they are there but at the same time (the veterans) aren’t concerned about those guys because when they walk in the door they know absolutely nothing.”

Well, that isn’t entirely the case.

The incoming recruiting class includes four receivers (Braden Lenzy, Lawrence Keys III, Kevin Austin, and Micah Jones), one of which (Jones) enrolled in January and went through spring football, while the rest have been learning the Irish offense since National Signing Day last winter.

“I know from our conversations that they are eager,” Alexander said. “They have their iPads, they have the information and I am getting questions back from them. They are confident.”

Hart should be, as well.

As a junior, the 6-foot-3, 190-pound athlete caught 33 passes for five scores and over 500 yards gained. The three-star prospect is also versatile.

On the defensive side of the ball, Hart made 31 tackles as a defensive back, so it isn’t beyond belief that he could end up making tackles for the Irish, as opposed to trying to avoid them.

The Notre Dame offense registered 182 receptions a year ago but 93 of those were by players that no longer are with the program, so the opportunity is there for balls to be caught in abundance this coming season, which excites Alexander.

“They are like clay,” Alexander said of the young receivers, “and I get to mold it. I get to shape it and mold it.”

Alexander has already spent the past six months doing so with Jones but he said that like all new players his learning curve is steep at this point.

“When you come in as a freshman,” Alexander explained, “we are probably going 100 miles per hour. Right now, it’s going 1,000 miles per hour for Micah.”

Jones showed potential this spring, albeit in limited opportunities, which Alexander said was by plan.

“He is at a disadvantage in the spring,” Alexander said. “His advantage won’t show up until we get to fall camp. For him, we are not going to slow down because we have a veteran group, so he is chasing his tail.

“There is a little bit of protecting him and his confidence. It is calculated when he goes. He is able to show what he can do in a limited setting but when we are going fast I try to protect him so that he doesn’t get frustrated.”

Hart and Virginia high school quarterback Brendon Clark each committed to Notre Dame Wednesday, which brings the total number of 2019 commitments to 17 (the Irish also have three from the 2020 class).

Notre Dame currently has the sixth-rated recruiting class nationally.

It is expected that Notre Dame will finish with about 22 to 23 recruits in the 2019 class after signing 27 in 2018.

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