Blue and Gold Illustrated

April 2017

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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www.BLUEANDGOLD.com APRIL 2017 43 BY DAVID MCKINNEY Portland (Ore.) Tigard athlete Braden Lenzy knew when he visited South Bend Feb. 11 that Notre Dame was the place he wanted to be. "The family feel," Lenzy ex- plained. "When I was there, I felt so welcomed, and it was just so easy to see myself there." The four-star talent said he under- stands how rare of an opportunity he's been given and will be sure not to take it for granted. "It's quite an honor," Lenzy said. "Not a lot of kids get to do that. Just being from the school I'm from, there haven't been a lot of kids that share this kind of experience. It's very humbling, and it's cool to be living that little kid dream that everyone has." Lenzy is a significant addition to Notre Dame's class. Rivals rates him as the No. 15 athlete and No. 203 overall player in the nation. Following his junior season, Lenzy was named to OregonLive.com's 6A All-State second team as a defensive back, and was an honorable men- tion as a wide receiver. The Irish are recruiting him to play the X position in their offense because of his speed, and it sold him on the opportunity for early playing time and touches. "Outside receiver and to get the ball in space and play early," Lenzy said, referring to what Notre Dame sold him on from a football stand- point. A two-way player, Lenzy built strong relationships with wide re- ceivers coach DelVaughn Alexander and defensive backs coach Todd Lyght. He will begin his career on the offensive side of the ball, and tak- ing him away from that spot could be difficult. As a sophomore in track, Lenzy won the 6A (largest classification) state title in the 400 meters in 48.38 seconds and took fourth in the 200 with a time of 21.83. His personal best in the 400 of 48.16 last year ranked 14th among sophomores na- tionally. The distance between Oregon and Indiana is approximately 1,775 miles, but Lenzy stated that was never a fac- tor in his decision. One of the reasons for that is his family has deep ties to the Hoosier State. His father, Melvin Lenzy, is a native of Ohio and a Pur- due graduate. The elder Lenzy witnessed firsthand just how much thought and care his son put into his decision. "He's been diligent with the deci- sion-making process," the elder Lenzy said. "He has a chart that lists the things that are his priorities, and he's been keeping a tab on how he feels each school hits that." That research led Lenzy to commit to Notre Dame, and Melvin Lenzy said there isn't a doubt in anyone's mind that it was the right selection. "There isn't going to be any angst or anxiety about if he made the right choice," he said. "He strategically went about how he's selecting the pri- orities for what he wants. "I think he's done a good job of removing the emotional part of the recruiting process and trying to be fac- tual." Melvin joined Braden for a Junior Day visit to Notre Dame Feb. 11, and visiting South Bend alone would've been enough to impress him — but knowing that his son was there on a recruiting visit made it that much more exciting. "It's humbling and it's amazing," he said. "It's a testament to the hard work and dedication that he put into the sport and his academics as well. It's just a blessing. "When you're raising kids, you want them to be successful and take the right steps to following their dreams." ❏ FILM ANALYSIS Strengths There is no doubt what stands out most for Braden Lenzy — truly elite speed; he ran a 4.47 40-yard dash as a sophomore, but he plays even faster … Is an efficient runner and doesn't run with great effort, which allows him to play fast but still be in position to make sudden cuts … His ability to translate his track speed onto the football field makes him a truly dynamic player downfield once he gets the ball in his hands … Is more than just a burner; he shows good agility, balance and flexibility … Also is a tough and physical player for his size, and if he wanted to play defense he could be a highly ranked cornerback as well … But with his speed, playmaking ability and ball skills, there is no doubt that he will get his start on offense and as a return man. Areas For Improvement Isn't the biggest player, so working to add more strength is important … He also needs to dramatically improve his pre-snap stance and initial route release technique, which will allow him to maximize his elite speed … Needs to work on upgrading how he gets into and out of breaks. — Bryan Driskell COMMITMENT PROFILE BRADEN LENZY "WHEN I WAS THERE, I FELT SO WELCOMED, AND IT WAS JUST SO EASY TO SEE MYSELF THERE." LENZY Diligence And A Family Feel Sold Oregon Athlete On Notre Dame Lenzy is rated as the country's No. 15 athlete and No. 203 overall player by Rivals. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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