Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 2, 2019

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

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Page 50 of 63 NOV. 2, 2019 51 The day after Notre Dame defeated USC 30‑27, the Fighting Irish beat Ohio State. The latter triumph for the Irish was on the recruiting trail, where Notre Dame went into the Buckeyes' back‑ yard and stole a recruit that they coveted. Making it all the more im‑ pressive was the fact he was an OSU legacy prospect. Pickerington (Ohio) Central class of 2021 wide receiver Lorenzo Styles Jr., the son of former Buckeyes linebacker Lorenzo Styles Sr., picked Notre Dame over Auburn, Florida, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin and others. Styles — who Rivals rates as the No. 2 recruit in Ohio, and the No. 4 wide receiver and No. 28 overall prospect in the 2021 class — admits that there has been some pushback from those in his com‑ munity, whether it be on social me‑ dia or in‑person at school, but the 6‑1, 170‑pounder couldn't be more content with his commitment to the Fighting Irish. "I'm really happy with my deci‑ sion, and that's what really matters ultimately," Styles told Blue & Gold Illustrated. During the recruiting process, Styles' father never pushed him to‑ ward Ohio State or any particular school. "He wanted me to go where I felt comfortable at," Styles explained. "He really felt like there was a good balance at Notre Dame, and so did I. It was my best fit, and he supported me all the way." It was a combination of everything at Notre Dame that made Styles want to call South Bend his home when he begins college in January 2021 as an e early enrollee. "I felt really comfortable with the coaching staff and there's really no program in the country like Notre Dame," Styles said. "People say their school's academics and football are both put on a pedestal, but I feel like at Notre Dame, it actually is. "Something special is happening there." His father spent five years in the professional ranks, playing for the Atlanta Falcons (1995‑96) and the St. Louis Rams (1997‑2000), and the younger Styles sees the value in what Notre Dame's academics can offer him long term. "The NFL stands for 'Not For Long.' After football, I want to have something to do with my life," Styles noted. "I can use a Notre Dame degree to help me do that." In August, Styles had a pretty good idea that he would be committing to the Fighting Irish. He told the Notre Dame staff that he would likely be pick‑ ing them, but he wanted to mull over his decision be‑ fore going public. "Some people have said that I rushed my decision, which is not true," he ex‑ plained. "Back in August, I contemplated committing, but I waited until now." Styles visited Ohio State Oct. 5 and watched the Buckeyes dismantle Michi‑ gan State 34‑7. The follow‑ ing week, he visited South Bend to see the Irish knock off the Trojans. Just hours before Notre D a m e ' s g a m e s t a r t e d , Styles let Irish wide receivers coach Del Alexander and head coach Brian Kelly know the good news. "They were both super excited to have me," Styles said. Styles is one of the most talented prospects in the nation, regardless of class. He is committed to Notre Dame as a receiver, but he's also a su‑ perb safety and very good on special teams as a returner. Schools will continue to recruit Styles despite his commitment to Notre Dame. With a year and change until Styles can sign his National Let‑ ter of Intent, there will be plenty of time for other college coaches to try to get Styles to flip. However, the four‑star prospect plans to remain solid with Notre Dame. "I'm a man of my word," Styles said. "I'm 100 percent committed to Notre Dame. I don't plan to take any other visits. If I do, though, it wouldn't be for my sake. My little brother's [Alex Styles] recruiting pro‑ cess is going to heat up next year, and I know he'll want to take his visits and have big brother with him." ✦ FILM ANALYSIS "Lorenzo Styles' sophomore film jumps out at you with how electric he is when he has the ball in his hands. He plays running back, H-back, wide receiver, cornerback, safety, kick returner and punt returner. He is clearly a football smart player if he can handle playing all those positions in one game. "He's quick off the line as a wide receiver and routinely gets behind defenses for easy pitches and catches. He high points the ball well in traffic. The fact of the matter is on most touchdowns, he is so far behind the defense that he doesn't have to do much to catch it. His speed on the edge is elite, and he easily out runs the competition on kick returns and screens. "At receiver in his early junior film, he tends to be a bit lazy out of his breaks and does not run crisp routes. Once he gets the ball in his hands he is electric, but it is concerning how nonchalant he is off the line." — Blue & Gold Illustrated football analyst Vince DeDario COMMITMENT PROFILE LORENZO STYLES Fighting Irish Win The Battle For Ohio State Legacy Recruit Styles is the son of former Ohio State linebacker Lorenzo Styles, who played six years in the NFL for the Falcons and Rams, and won Super Bowl XXXIV with the latter. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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