Justin Brent came into his junior season prepared to see his stats go down a bit in the face of constant double-teams, but the 2014 Notre Dame wide receiver commit also came in prepared to make the most of his opportunities.
So far, it’s been more of the latter than the former.
After catching 40 balls for 819 yards and 10 touchdowns as a sophomore, the 6-foot-3, 193-pound Indianapolis wideout has pulled in 12 passes for 221 yards and six touchdowns in just three games already in 2012.
Always humble, Brent gives the credit to his teammates for allowing him to have the opportunities he’s had.
“Honestly, I think it’s the other guys around me,” said Brent. “We have so many weapons on offense that they can’t really focus on me. There’s other guys who can hurt you.
“It’s definitely our wideouts and our running game that’s helped me out. They can’t pay all of the attention to me, but if they do, we have some other guys who can hurt you.”
Speedway raced to a 49-2 season-opening victory over Lapel, but lost its second game to Scecina Memorial 27-26 in Lucas Oil Stadium. The Sparkplugs led 20-7 at one point, but lost as Scecina Memorial scored a touchdown in the final seconds. The loss figures to be a motivating factor for Speedway all season.
“When we’re down at practice, the guys know that we can be beat,” said Brent. “We have to go hard every day because it can happen. We feel like we shouldn’t have lost the game. We were up 20-7, but it was just mental breakdowns and it cost us in the end.”
Speedway responded with a 54-21 victory over Beech Grove last week and will take on Cardinal Ritter this Friday. Brent will get back to South Bend on Saturday for Notre Dame’s home opener against Purdue.
“I just got off the phone with Coach (Chuck) Martin,” Brent said Wednesday night. “He was talking about me getting up there this Saturday. I’m scheduled to be at every game, but they’re excited about me getting up there.
“We talked about the Navy game and we talked about everything. We actually talked about me getting offered by Louisville (Tuesday) and I didn’t know how to handle that. He kind of showed me the ropes with that stuff.”
A solid Irish commitment, Brent wasn’t sure how he should respond to the Cardinals’ offer.
“I wanted to show respect because they did write me a letter offering me,” said Brent. “I called and I said, ‘Thanks for the offer. I really appreciate it a lot, but I am committed to the University of Notre Dame.”
Brent was impressed with the Irish’s performance against Navy in Ireland.
“I thought everything looked good,” he said. “The running game looked good, the quarterback looked good. I’m excited to see them play this week because they looked really, really good.”