2018 Notre Dame Football Recruit Profile: Kevin Austin
The Notre Dame football program got signed commitments from 21 players from 13 different states last month during the inaugural “early signing period.”
News-Sentinel.com sports reporter Tom Davis has been writing on the Fighting Irish for nearly two decades and is taking a daily look at each recruit leading up to the traditional National Signing Day (Feb. 7).
Southeast Florida has been good to Notre Dame in the past and Austin hopes to continue that pipeline of speed and athleticism up north.
The 6-foot-2 wide receiver has been a productive player in one of the best areas of prep football in the country.
As a senior at North Broward Prep, Austin caught 35 balls for over 700 yards and 11 scores, while also rushing fro nearly 400 yards.
He was even more productive as a junior, as he hauled in 41 passes for over 1,000 yards and 13 scores. That fall, he also rushed for 454 yards and six touchdowns.
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There may be a faster receiver on the Notre Dame roster, but what Austin can do is bring versatility and precision to the field. He runs good routes, which can sometimes overtake athleticism, and he is capable of learning multiple receiver spots.
He has height, which is something that the Notre Dame strength program can not increase, but he also has a solid frame of nearly 200 pounds already, which will get even bigger over the next four to five years.
Austin is one of the top rated players in the state of Florida by multiple services, which really means something.
Each of 247Sports, ESPN and Rivals rated him as the 14th best wide receiver nationally, while 247Sports had him listed as the 16th best player from Florida.
As an overall player, Austin ranged from 73rd nationally (247Sports) to 83rd (ESPN).
With the departures of leading receiver Equanimeous St. Brown and the ultra-talented (and just as troubled) Kevin Stepherson, there will be a lot of passes to be caught next season, especially as offensive coordinator Chip Long gravitates more to his natural play calling preference.
In the Citrus Bowl win over LSU, the Irish fans caught glimpses of 2018 when Miles Boykin and Michael Young Jr. both had nice games, and the healthy return of Chase Claypool will add to the nice group of pass-catchers.
Notre Dame will also have back veteran Chris Finke, as well as Freddy Canteen, Jafar Armstrong, and Javon McKinley, along with incoming freshmen Braden Lenzy and Micah Jones.
The tight end group is talented and deep and will vie for balls, as well.
BRIAN KELLY SAYS
“Kevin Austin can play all three (wide receiver) positions for us,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said on National Signing Day last month. “We wanted somebody that has versatility at that position. He can play X, Z, and W. He is a smooth player who catches the ball extremely well and has great speed.
“We wanted somebody that wasn’t going to be penciled into a position.”
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