Notre Dame‘s 2018 football recruiting class is building momentum and on Friday head coach Brian Kelly added a major offensive weapon to the mix when 4-star wide receiver Kevin Austin made his verbal pledge to play for the Fighting Irish.
Outside of 4-star quarterback Phil Jurkovec, Austin is now the highest-rated offensive recruit in Kelly’s 2018 class, according to 247Sports.
Tom Loy of 247Sports was the first to report the news. Austin chose the Irish after receiving significant interest from Duke, Miami and Tennessee. He also had high-major offers from the likes of Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Michigan, Ohio State and USC among others.
Austin made his pledge public on Twitter.
— Kevin Austin Jr (@Ka_szn) August 11, 2017
With Jurkovec already on board, Kelly needed another playmaker to pair with the QB, and Austin should help provide that 1-2 punch.
A 6-foot-3, 198-pound wide receiver from Pompano Beach, Fla., (North Broward Prep), Austin is rated as a 4-star recruit, according to 247 Sports. The site ranks him as the No. 110 overall prospect in the 2018 class and the 23rd-best wide receiver in the country. 247Sports also regards Austin as the 25th-best football player in the Sunshine State.
Austin has great size and speed to burn. He has great burst off the line of scrimmage and can beat opponents with either his athleticism, strength or wit. Austin is one of the better route runners on the high school level, and is very cerebral in his approach to the game.
In other words, he is a coach’s dream.
Austin is great in the open field and gains a lot of yards after the catch. His moves in the open field are a sight to behold. Austin basically provides the complete package at the receiver position.
Here is more on his game from Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports:
“His work ethic is phenomenal, his leadership is phenomenal and he’s just a big-time competitor,” his high school coach Rex Nottage said. “We’re a high-academic private school and he loves to compete and he does not shy away from it.”
At Broward Prep last season, Austin recorded 41 catches for 1,021 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also added 454 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns.
With Notre Dame’s addition of Austin, 247Sports now ranks Kelly’s 2018 class as the seventh best in the nation.
Given Notre Dame’s history of churning out future pros at receiver — Michael Floyd, Golden Tate, Will Fuller are recent examples — Austin has picked the perfect school to get the most out of his talent.
The combination of Jurkovec and Austin could potentially lead to great things in South Bend. With grad transfer Cameron Smith set to depart the program after the 2017 season and junior receiver Equanimeous St. Brown clearly on the radar of NFL scouts, Austin can compete for a starting spot in his freshman season.
Whether Austin succeeds right away is to be determined, but he has the skills, competitiveness and desire to get Notre Dame back to playing at an elite level.
The marriage of Austin and Notre Dame should be a union that yields results for both parties.