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Notre Dame Football

Most Intriguing Players of 2019 | No. 5 | WR Michael Young Jr.

July 31, 2019

We are looking at 10 players who hold the most intrigue on the roster as fall camp is just under a month away. They might not be the star of the team, but they could be a younger prospect oozing with potential or an older guy who has patiently waited for their time to come. 

These are 10 players who I will be paying close attention to as camp starts, but also the first few games of the season to see if they break into the rotation or what Brian Kelly’s plan of attack for them is in 2019. 

Most Intriguing Players of 2019 | No. 10 | OL Aaron Banks

Most Intriguing Players of 2019 | No. 9 | S Jalen Elliott

Most Intriguing Players of 2019 | No. 8 | LB Jordan Genmark Heath

Most Intriguing Players of 2019 | No. 7 | DL Jayson & Justin Ademilola

Most Intriguing Players of 2019 | No. 6 | WR Javon McKinley

I wrote about senior receiver Javon McKinley yesterday and today will be another receiver in junior Michael Young Jr. 

I get the feeling the 5-foot-10, 190-pounder is one player many forget about as Chase Claypool and Chris Finke highlight the receiver group while the sophomore class has the shiny toys in it. 

The Louisana native will enter fall camp as the starter opposite Claypool at the X. Young has patiently waited for his turn to shine and he’ll have every chance to do that this season. 

Young has recorded 11 catches for 156 yards and two touchdowns in his first two seasons at Notre Dame, but he’s had a knack for coming up with big plays.

As a freshman, Young caught a crucial touchdown from Ian Book in the fourth quarter to tie the Citrus Bowl against LSU. In 2018, Young had a 47-yard touchdown at Northwestern, a 66-yard catch and run against Wake Forest and then a 48-yard kickoff return against Vanderbilt. 

The issue for Young has been consistency, but also making sure he can play through being a little banged up. I believe Young did a much better job of doing the latter last season and will continue on that trajectory in 2019. 

Young also brings grit and toughness to the Irish run game. He was known as a willing blocker in high school and it was followed him to Notre Dame. 

Young is just one of four receivers who have caught a ball in a game and could become an important piece on third down as defenses will be focused on Claypool, Finke and tight end Cole Kmet.

When it comes to intrigue, I believe Young could be the X-factor in the Notre Dame offense. Chip Long’s offense has lacked a receiver who could threaten defenses with big plays and Young could be that guy with a little consistency. 

Now, I don’t expect him to be Will Fuller all of sudden, but Young is a guy who can take a screen to the house and then burn a defensive over the top the next drive. Long specifically talked about the need for the receivers to make plays after the catch in the spring and Young is the guy I’m watching to do just that. 

“They weren’t breaking tackles last year,” said Long. “That’s been our number one emphasis. The amount of yards we left out there is absolutely embarrassing. Getting yards after contact is our number one emphasis. We have to be explosive. We had two plays over 50 yards last year and we went to the College Football Playoff. That’s very rare. The year before we averaged that a series. 

“We needed to take the explosiveness of 2017 with the efficiency of 2018. We need to be an explosive offense. I don’t think we really scared anybody. We weren’t explosive and that caught up to us.” 

I won’t say it’s a make or break year for Young, but if he wants to be more than a rotational guy, 2019 will need to be the year he takes a couple steps forward and it’s something I feel he’s ready to do. 

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