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Braylon James signs with the Irish, joins a strong wide receiver class

Last spring, Notre Dame received a major boost to the future outlook of its talented, but thin wide receiver group when Braylon James committed to play for the Irish. James, a receiver from Round Rock, Texas, officially signed on Wednesday. He will have a chance to make a big impact on Notre Dame’s aerial attack early in his career. Kyle Kelly, Notre Dame recruiting analyst for Rivals, spoke about James’ expected role for next season.

“I think [James and fellow wide receiver signee Jaden Greathouse] have every opportunity in the world to see the field. I think the reason it might have taken a little longer with [current freshman] Tobias [Merriweather], [is that] there were some concerns about him learning the complete offense,” Kelly said. “Braylon James is a guy that can stretch the field a little bit more. They tried to do that at times with Tobias Merriweather.”

Rivals lists James as a four-star prospect and ranks him No. 149 nationally and No. 27 among wide receivers. With a player rating of 5.9, Rivals considers him a future All-American candidate as well as a potential early-round NFL draft pick. His other offers included Georgia, Ohio State and Michigan. As a senior, he earned an Under Armour All-American selection. He finished the season with 727 yards and five touchdown receptions for Stony Point High School. At 6-foot-4 and 185 pounds, James has a long frame and is effective at making difficult catches in traffic. He was also a standout in track and field and is one of the best athletes in the wide receiver class.

James comes as part of a loaded class of wide receivers for Notre Dame. He joins four-star recruits Greathouse and Rico Flores Jr. as well as three-star Kaleb Smith. They will be tasked with providing reinforcements for a group that struggled to find production at times as Notre Dame utilized a run-heavy offense. The Irish lose their leading receiver in All-American tight end Michael Mayer. However, they return a trio of talented sophomores — Lorenzo Styles, Deion Colzie and Jayden Thomas — in addition to Merriweather. These players, along with James and the other signees, provide the backbone for what the Irish hope will be a formidable passing attack.

“[The new wide receivers] can put some pressure on some of those sophomore and soon-to-be junior receivers who are expected to take a big leap,” Kelly said. “Even if they’re not seeing playing time immediately, they’ll be right on the heels of guys like Deion Colzie and Lorenzo Styles.”

After signing just one wide receiver last year amid significant turnover on the coaching staff, Notre Dame made the position a point of emphasis for 2023. In James, first-year wide receivers coach Chansi Stuckey now has a big target at his disposal. The four-star fits the mold of recent Notre Dame receivers like Chase Claypool and Ben Skowronek. James is ready to step in and help turn wide receiver into a position of strength for the Irish.

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