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Notre Dame 99-to-2: No. 4 Kevin Austin, sophomore receiver

Kevin Austin

SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 27: Kevin Austin #4 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish runs with the ball in the 1st half against the Navy Midshipmen at SDCCU Stadium on October 27, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kent Horner/Getty Images)

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Listed Measurements: 6-foot-2, 210 pounds.2019-20 year, eligibility: A sophomore, Austin has three seasons of eligibility remaining, including 2019.Depth chart: On paper, Austin looks like the backup to senior Chase Claypool as the boundary receiver.Recruiting: The consensus four-star prospect and No. 88 overall player in the class, per, Austin chose Notre Dame over finalists of Duke, Miami and Tennessee and also received scholarship offers from Clemson, Michigan and Oregon.

While the Irish ran their three starting receivers ragged last season, Austin was the fifth option, on the fringes of support but not trusted enough to be leaned upon. He played in 11 games, snagging five passes for 90 yards.

The two missed games were the last two of the regular season, both on the road, neither of which included Austin on the travel roster, a bit of foreshadowing of a turbulent spring.

Austin may be one of the most multidimensional receivers on Notre Dame’s roster. He could conceivably back up either Claypool on the boundary or junior Michael Young on the wide side without the offense losing anything.

“He’s very talented, extremely talented player,” Irish head coach Brian Kelly said in late March. “I don’t think you leave any practice and not say he’s extremely talented, but I think you all know there’s more than just talent in this evaluation process of guys that are going to play. He needs to bring more to it than just talent.”

In other words, Austin’s traits may hold him back. Typically, when such a conversation begins at Notre Dame, it is hinting at a couple games out of action in the future. Whether that might be one game, two or even four to start the season, Kelly never tipped his hand, presumably out of privacy requirements.

“Kevin has done a good job this semester so far,” Irish offensive coordinator Chip Long said the week of the Blue-Gold Game. “It is still daily. The consistency I want out of Kevin is daily and he knows that. Can’t be great one day and then lousy the next. I think he’s done a solid job of that. He still has a long ways to go.

“There’s no denying his talent, but talent will get you beat. Potential will get you beat. We want consistent guys who are going to play a level every day, and when you do that, the sky is the limit for the young man. He’s working on it, he’s figuring it out, and he will. He’ll get it done, but I don’t want any gameday tryouts. You’re going to do it in practice and do it consistently. If you do that, you’ll play a lot. He knows that and he’s working toward that.”

“Without proven depth at receiver, Notre Dame will take it wherever such can be found. Considering only four of 10 receivers can claim so much as one career reception, Austin is on pace to be in the two-deep simply by being on the roster.

“His broad set of skills — speed, strong hands, height, wingspan, aptitude tracking the ball — should firmly place him into that two-deep by the end of preseason practices. One of those 10 receivers, sophomore Jafar Armstrong, will split his time in the backfield, and Austin may already be more physically-ready than the other freshman receivers, suddenly he is within the grouping of the top-six, backing up the one of Miles Boykin or Chase Claypool whom (Javon) McKinley does not.”

At some point, Austin will be given the all-clear. When that time comes, he should provide Claypool needed chances to catch his breath. The Irish receivers are too talented, including Austin, to rely on only three of them for an entire season again.

Austin has the speed and the frame to run any route outside the slot, and even some slot machinations are within his skill set. Thus, he should be a valuable piece of depth … once part of the active roster.

Austin finding good standing in 2019 would set him up to be a multi-year starter beginning next season. Both Claypool and fifth-year Chris Finke will be out of eligibility. Austin looks to be the heir apparent to Claypool, both in on-field talent and off-field coaching staff frustrations.

NOTRE DAME 99-to-2:
No. 95: Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive tackle
No. 94: Isaiah Foskey, freshman defensive end, consensus four-star
No. 94: Darnell Ewell, defensive tackle
No. 91: Ade Ogundeji, defensive end
No. 90: Hunter Spears, defensive tackle, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 89: Brock Wright, tight end
No. 88: Javon McKinley, receiver
No. 87: Michael Young, receiver
No. 85: George Takacs, tight end
No. 84: Cole Kmet, tight end
No. 83: Chase Claypool, receiver
No. 80: Micah Jones, receiver
No. 78: Tommy Kraemer, right guard, three-year starter
No. 77: Quinn Carroll, offensive tackle, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 76: Dillan Gibbons, offensive guard
No. 75: Josh Lugg, offensive lineman
No. 74: Liam Eichenberg, left tackle, two-year starter
No. 73: Andrew Kristofic, offensive tackle, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 72: Robert Hainsey, offensive tackle, three-year starter
No. 71: John Olmstead, offensive lineman, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 69: Aaron Banks, left guard
No. 60: Cole Mabry, offensive tackle
No. 57: Trevor Ruhland, veteran backup offensive lineman
No. 57: Jayson Ademilola, defensive tackle
No. 56: John Dirksen, offensive lineman
No. 56: Howard Cross, incoming freshman defensive lineman, consensus four-star
No. 55: Jarrett Patterson, starting center
No. 55: Ja’Mion Franklin, defensive tackle returning from injury
No. 54: Jacob Lacey, consensus four-star defensive tackle, early enrollee
No. 54: John Shannon, long snapper
No. 53: Khalid Kareem, senior defensive end
No. 52: Zeke Correll, consensus four-star center, early enrollee
No. 52: Bo Bauer, linebacker, sophomore
No. 47: Kofi Wardlow, junior defensive end
No. 45: Jonathan Jones, senior inside linebacker
No. 44: Jamir Jones, senior defensive end
No. 42: Julian Okwara, senior defensive end
No. 41: Kurt Hinish, junior defensive tackle
No. 40: Drew White, junior inside linebacker
No. 39: Jonathan Doerer, junior kicker
No. 35: TaRiq Bracy, sophomore cornerback
No. 35: Marist Liufau, Hawaiian freshman linebacker
No. 34: Jahmir Smith, sophomore running back
No. 34: Osita Ekwonu, inside linebacker, consensus four-star
No. 33: Shayne Simon, sophomore linebacker
No. 31: Jack Lamb, sophomore linebacker
No. 30: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, junior linebacker
No. 29: Ovie Oghoufo, sophomore linebacker-turned-defensive end
No. 27: J.D. Bertrand, consensus four-star linebacker
No. 25: Braden Lenzy, speedy sophomore receiver
No. 24: Tommy Tremble, sophomore tight end
No. 24: Jack Kiser, early-enrolled freshman linebacker, Mr. Indiana Football
No. 23: Litchfield Ajavon, four-star safety, freshman
No. 23: Kyren Williams, early-enrolled freshman running back
No. 22: Kendall Abdur-Rahman, quarterback-turned-receiver, freshman
No. 22: Asmar Bilal, the only returning starting linebacker
No. 21: Jalen Elliott, three-year starting safety
No. 20: Shaun Crawford, defensive back returning from yet another injury
No. 20: C’Bo Flemister, sophomore running back
No. 19: Jay Bramblett, freshman punter
No. 19: Justin Ademilola, sophomore defensive end
No. 18: Joe Wilkins, sophomore receiver
No. 18: Nana Osafo-Mensah, freshman defensive end, consensus four-star
No. 17: Isaiah Robertson, junior receiver
No. 16: K.J. Wallace, freshman defensive back, three-star
No. 15 Isaiah Rutherford, freshman defensive back, consensus four-star
No. 15: Phil Jurkovec, sophomore quarterback
No. 14: Kyle Hamilton, freshman safety, consensus four-star
No. 13: Lawrence Keys, sophomore receiver
No. 13: Paul Moala, sophomore safety-turned-linebacker
No. 12: DJ Brown, sophomore cornerback-turned-safety
No. 12: Ian Book, starting quarterback
No. 11: Alohi Gilman, senior safety
No. 10: Chris Finke, fifth-year receiver, second-year starter
No. 9: Cam Hart, freshman receiver
No. 9: Daelin Hayes, senior defensive end
No. 8: Donte Vaughn, senior cornerback
No. 8: Jafar Armstrong, starting running back, junior
No. 7: Brendon Clark, freshman quarterback
No. 7: Derrik Allen, sophomore safety
No. 6: Tony Jones, senior running back
No. 5: Troy Pride, starting cornerback, senior
No. 4: Avery Davis, sophomore defensive back, former quarterback-turned-running back