Blue and Gold Illustrated

Preseason 2016

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

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76 PRESEASON 2016 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY BRYAN DRISKELL The wide receiver position tends to be one that creates players with a certain attitude. By nature, wide receivers spend much of the game away from the rest of the offense. It is not hard for receivers to develop a "team of me" mentality. Destrehan (La.) High wide receiver Michael Young is not that type of player, but he could be. Despite his three-star status, Young has become a hot commodity over the last sev- eral months, earning offers from programs across the country. In late July, Young picked Notre Dame over Oregon and Texas A&M. The increased attention from col- lege coaches did not change Young's focus, or his goals, for his final sea- son. After helping lead the Wildcats to an 11-1 record and a trip to the Louisiana 5A state playoffs, Young enters the fall with one major aim. "My goal this season is to win a state championship," Young stated emphatically. That should not come as a sur- prise to anyone that knows Young, but most players will first mention a desire to win a title. The follow- up answer is what showed Young's character as a football player. He did not mention scoring touch- downs, making catches or racking up big-time stats. "I want to become a better leader, and push everyone to compete and work at their highest level," Young said. "I will show them throughout the season the five P's — proper preparation prevents poor perfor- mance." Scoring touchdowns and dominat- ing on the field is certainly a part of Young's game. The 5-11, 175-pound wideout racked up 10 touchdowns as a junior, earning first-team all-district 7-5A honors. However, putting up big numbers is not why he plays the game. "I love being a part of something bigger than myself," said Young, who began playing football at the age of 7. "In this game, it's harder to find the guys who stand out if the team is playing great as a whole, and I'm not big on hype and publicity, so that's why I enjoy it." Young stands out on film for his all-around game. He makes plays down the field just as frequently as he turns short throws into big gains. What makes him such a dominant all-around player is not just what he does with the ball in his hands. Young takes pride in being a com- plete wide receiver, and he will work just as hard to make something hap- pen when a teammate gets the ball, a trait that made him quite attractive to Irish wide receivers coach Mike Denbrock. "I take a lot of pride in my block- ing," Young said. "And in my route running, and being able to be ver- satile and used throughout the of- fense, whether it's catching the ball or speed sweeps." When Notre Dame made its pitch to Young, the staff sold him on the prospect of being a major producer in an offense that has churned out a pair of first-round picks under head coach Brian Kelly. Notre Dame's most recent high pick — Will Fuller — is a player the staff used to sell the program to Young. "I think very highly of Will, be- cause I'm underrated and so was he," Young explained. "Coach Den- brock looked at me and said, 'I know you're underrated, and you remind me of Will. "'You're that explosive, you've got that quickness, and you fit Notre Dame much like Will did coming out of high school.'" Notre Dame's on-field package was not all that sold the program to Young. The off-the-field advantages helped make the difference. "I'm focused on the academics, the opportunity to play and how com- fortable I feel at the program," Young noted. With his final decision out of the way, Young has a message for Notre Dame fans. "I want people to know that I'm a guy that would do anything for his team if needed," he declared. "I'm a fierce competitor, I don't like losing and I'll do anything to win." ✦ FILM ANALYSIS Strengths Michael Young is the ideal slot player in the Notre Dame offense … A physical player that excels as a blocker and can make plays after the catch … An explosive athlete that posted a 4.01 in the pro shuttle and a 39.1-inch vertical jump this summer at the Nike+ The Open- ing Regional in New Orleans … Also a savvy route runner that knows how to manipulate defenders and understands how to work him- self open against the zone … His feel for the game could help him earn early playing time in the Notre Dame offense, which lacks true slot players outside of current sophomore C.J. Sanders. Areas For Improvement At 5-10½, is a bit on the short side, and at 178 pounds he does not yet have the ideal size needed to play at the collegiate level … Filling out will be important, as will adding a bit more strength to his game … Only ran a 4.67 in the 40-yard dash this summer, so improving his long speed could benefit his game. — Bryan Driskell COMMITMENT PROFILE MICHAEL YOUNG "I LOVE BEING A PART OF SOMETHING BIGGER THAN MYSELF." YOUNG Louisiana Receiver Is Sold On Notre Dame Young, a three-star recruit according to Rivals, chose the Irish over fellow finalists Oregon and Texas A&M. PHOTO BY ANDREW IVINS

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