Indianapolis (Ind.) Speedway sophomore receiver Justin Brent has made a name for himself as one of the Hoosier State’s top pass catchers the past two seasons.
The 6-foot-3, 182-pound Brent introduced himself to varsity football catching 37 passes for 544 yards and nine touchdowns as a freshman. He followed that up this fall with 40 receptions for 819 yards and 10 scores.
Texas A&M was first to notice Brent’s abilities, but when the Aggies sent that letter following his ninth grade campaign, Brent still had the mindset he was a basketball player first.
“I was taking visits to Indiana and Purdue for basketball and they gave me that letter and I kind of didn’t pay attention to it,” Brent said. “I wasn’t going to do football. It was something I wasn’t going to do.”
Then the letters started coming in from Arkansas, Florida, Notre Dame, Illinois, Louisville and Kentucky, and Brent’s tune started to change. He recently took a visit to Louisville, and Cincinnati was by the school to see him on Wednesday.
“I’ve started thinking, maybe this is something I want to do,” Brent laughed.
The basketball interest is still there for Brent as well. He worked out for Indiana State on Tuesday, and Ball State, IUPUI and Georgia State are showing personal interest.
“I’d say I’m 50-50 on what I want to play,” Brent said.
Speedway football coach Denny Pelley knew long before anyone he had a special player in his program. Brent arrived a running back, but to get him on the field right away, Pelley moved him to receiver.
“We thought it would be a little less traumatic for him,” Pelley said. “There is a lot of stuff our running backs have to do. They block, there is terminology, and we thought if we started him out wide, he could just be an athlete. That’s what he does best, be an athlete. One thing led to another and when he became more than an athlete, he’s a football player and an athlete, he’s learned and become a better player.”
Brent and his 4.6 speed in the 40-yard dash really evolved this fall.
“He’s made some big plays,” Pelley said. “Some go-to plays. They know we’re going to throw it to him. He knows we’re going to throw it to him and he made some big plays.”
During the fall, Brent was invited to the Arkansas-South Carolina game but wasn’t able to make it to the Razorbacks campus. His visit to Louisville was his first-ever football recruiting trip.
“Everybody was so nice,” Brent said. He’s been keeping in contact with assistant Vance Bedford. “I’ve been on several basketball recruiting visits where the people are nice, but with them it was just like they’re so accepting. It’s nothing but positive stuff from the strength and conditioning program to the coaches.”
Brent got to sit in on a team meeting and watch a Louisville spring practice.
“I love the way they broke down film,” he recapped. “The way they broke down film was amazing. I learned so much. I just can’t wait to go out and use it. I took down notes. I love the way they ran practice. It was so fast paced.
“They really liked me, Brent continued. “They were giving hints. When someone dropped a ball they were giving hints saying we need new wide receivers. They’re on me pretty heavy.”
Brent is looking to visit Notre Dame on Saturday, but as of Wednesday afternoon, that trip wasn’t completely set in stone. He has several schools he wants to see in the summer.
“I’ll probably end up going to Illinois, maybe Minnesota, Cincinnati and Michigan.
Brent added that Indiana and Purdue would also likely get visits.
Speedway had one of the most prolific quarterback-receiver duos in the state.
Quarterback Austin Anglea threw for 2,415 yards and 25 touchdowns during the fall, and he’s receiving interest from Cincinnati, Miami (Ohio) and Indiana State.