Class Impact: WR Lorenzo Styles Jr. To Notre Dame
Notre Dame picked up a signifiant commitment when elite 2021 wide receiver Lorenzo Styles Jr. announced his pledge to the Fighting Irish. Styles gives Notre Dame a second Rivals100 wideout in the class, and it gives the staff a major recruiting victory over Ohio State.
Styles picked Notre Dame over Ohio State, where his father played linebacker from 1991-93. He was a major target for the Buckeyes, and beating Ohio State for an elite in-state skill player is a major coup for the Notre Dame staff.
Styles had offers from Ohio State, Michigan, Florida, Wisconsin, Penn State, Auburn, Nebraska, Northwestern, Pittsburgh, Purdue, West Virginia, Duke, Boston College, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Indiana, Louisville, Maryland and Vanderbilt.
Styles becomes the seventh player to commit to Notre Dame in the 2021 class, and the sixth offensive player. He is the second wideout to choose the Irish, joining consensus Top 100 recruit Deion Colzie in the class.
The No. 28 player in the nation according to Rivals, Styles becomes the fifth Rivals100 recruit to commit for 2021. All seven of Notre Dame’s commits are ranked in the Top 250 according to 247Sports.
Notre Dame has five Rivals100 offensive commits in the 2020 class (Jordan Johnson, Chris Tyree, Tosh Baker, Michael Mayer, Drew Pyne), the most of the Brian Kelly era, and with Styles now committed the 2021 class already has four more Rivals100 recruits on offense.
The Irish landed two wide receivers in the 2019 class, but one - Cam Hart - has already moved to cornerback. Notre Dame landed three very talented wideouts in the 2020 class - highlighted by Jordan Johnson and Xavier Watts - but it wanted to add another top-flight haul of pass catchers in 2021.
Landing Styles and Colzie is an outstanding start for the Irish wide receiver class. With those two already in the fold, Notre Dame can now shoot for a style complement to those players, but it can also focus on players it views as having elite talent or elite upside.
NOTRE DAME FIT
Styles and Colzie are perfect complements to each other, but they also complement Johnson and Watts. Colzie is ideally suited for the boundary position while Styles has the traits Notre Dame wants at both of the field wide receiver positions (X and Z).
Styles is listed at 6-1 and 170 pounds, but he doesn’t appear on film to be that tall. But he’s a tough player for his size, which you can see on defense, where he’s a standout cornerback.
What makes him one of the nation’s best players, and a priority Notre Dame recruit, are the athletic traits he brings to the game. Styles has exceptional foot quickness and burst off the line, which helps him maximize his speed. While the Pickerington Central star isn’t a traditional burner, he plays with enough speed to be a home run threat on both vertical routes and with the ball in his hands.
Styles shows a high football IQ, and he’s a natural with the ball in his hands, which is why he gets action at running back for the Tigers. His agility, vision and acceleration allow Styles to thrive in space and make him difficult to tackle in the open field. Those are traits that offensive coordinator Chip Long wants more of in the offense.
Despite his lack of size, Styles is more than willing to work the middle of the field and to catch the ball in traffic. His toughness and willingness to work the middle of the field makes him suited to handle the rigors of the slot position. Styles has impressive route running skills for such a young player, and he knows how to find soft spots in the zone.
All of the above traits could work at the X position, but his combination of skills makes him an ideal fit for the slot (Z) position in the Irish offense.