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Notre Dame Football

ISD Draft Diary | Troy Pride Jr. Part I

January 1, 2020

Former Notre Dame cornerback Troy Pride Jr. started four years at Notre Dame and is off to prepare for the 2020 NFL Draft. Throughout the process leading up to the draft, Pride will log diary entries to document his experience over the next five months, as told to Matt Freeman:

Golly! Where did the time go? I just graduated and capped an 11-win season with my brothers.

I'm now off to Texas to start training for the NFL Draft, but first I want to say thank you to a few people at Notre Dame.

To my professors:
Thank you. I can truly appreciate all of you. Notre Dame isn't a cakewalk and you're not just going to make it by showing up. There were classes I had to reach out to you each week to get some semblance of what I was trying to learn.

I was in each lecture and discussion, but I still had to reach out to make sure I knew what you were talking about at times. That's the struggle of Notre Dame that everyone talks about.

Thank you. You have prepared me for the struggles and trials I'll face in this next chapter.

To my coaches:
It was two different experiences.

Track was an experience I had to be walked through a little bit. I want to thank Coach (Alan) Turner. You understood I wasn't a regular athlete or person. I was able to be me to an extent and I'm grateful. You were able to coach around my personality and were terrific in that regard.

My football coaches, I'd like to thank them for being patient. I obviously wasn't born and bred from day one. We went through some struggles. We had our back and forths, but we had our moments.

You always did your best to cater to me and always helped me be the best athlete I could be. It means a lot you wanted to see me succeed in life and not just the football field.

I'll never forget each and every coach I had at Notre Dame because they were so instrumental in my development, growth and seeing things in a different light.

Now, I want to address a question I've been asked many times over the last four years. It's an answer I've thought about over my time at Notre Dame and it's been interesting to think about over time.

Why Notre Dame?

I chose Notre Dame because I felt it could make me the best man, the best football player and allow me to grow spiritually.

USC 2015. I knew. I knew Notre Dame was the spot for me. I took an official visit with my family and we were embraced as a family member, but I was just a recruit.

Irish Sports Daily
The Pride Family at the USC game in 2015

It was crazy how at home I felt that weekend. It was crazy how many elements incumbent to my life were portrayed by Notre Dame. I wanted to embody that life from the greatness the gold signifies to knowing the greatness that came before me and the greatness that is to come. I felt it was my duty to walk into that greatness.

I'll be the first to tell you greatness is hard to achieve, and it started with my freshman year.

I understood there would be lumps my first year at Notre Dame on and off the field. I didn't expect to go in and dominate. I did OK and not really that great. I'll admit it.

The first game was eye-opening because I didn't travel to Texas. I was hurt. I was the man back in Greer (S.C.) and it was a shock.

Heck, my mother had already bought a flight to Texas because she knew in her mind I was going to be there and then I ended up not making the trip.

It was hard sitting and not playing for four games. I was sitting and watching. I didn't even know where my helmet was at times.

But then it happened. I found myself starting at MetLife Stadium against Syracuse.

I was starting. I was playing full games. I was thrown into the fire. I was being relied on as a true freshman.

Your emotions go crazy. We weren't good and we knew everything had to change, but my freshman year was easily the biggest shock during my career at Notre Dame.

However, a lot of good came out of it.

Notre Dame is about striving for greatness. When we were 4-8, we knew it wasn't who we were and my class wasn't about to let it happen again.

We embraced the grind. It was about putting in the work and that's Notre Dame.

I saw it on when I track that spring as a freshman. Our track team isn't highly touted, but those individuals work as hard as anyone else. It's apparent throughout the entire school.

You see a lot of schools and players who take online classes, right? Some places, you can finish a degree in two years!

That's not possible at Notre Dame.

It's a struggle. It's a constant grind - every student, athlete or not, goes through it.

That's what creates these multi-millionaires, exceptional athletes and distinctive people in the world. People will look at you and say, "Wow, you went to Notre Dame?"

It's highly regarded and it's everybody.

We also had our fun at Notre Dame. My best friends, Jalen Elliott, Donte Vaughn, Julian Love, Alohi Gilman, Naya Sharp and Summer Thorpe - we've made some great memories off the field.

The trips to Chicago or traveling on the road for track - just going to so many different places and seeing different places. It was amazing.

Jalen and I went to Brazil with Daelin Hayes and Jonathan Jones. So many good memories. I don't have a favorite, but I remember them all very vividly.

I'm at the airport now as I'm headed to Texas to train for the Senior Bowl and my future in the NFL.

On Monday, I signed with an agent, Jason Bernstein.

He's one hard-working dude. Jason has done a fantastic job to help my family and I go through this process. He was able to get us in the right position to know what we're supposed to do and how to do it.

The thing that stands out about Jason is his openness, being negotiable and flexible to demands and needs in terms of what my family wants and what he can do to help. He's a good person and that's what you want.

Agents get a tag that they're all about money and for some, it's all about money. You can look up and you're down $20 million.

Jason is just a good person. We even asked him if we said no, what would he do? He said he would just go about his business and say thank you. He's not interested in the glitz and glamour of being an agent. He's about working with people and what's best for athletes.

I'm looking forward to working with him.

I'll be training with Clay Mack and I knew immediately it was the perfect match when we first met.

We spoke about the small intricacies of the game. I knew his football IQ was high and he could see the differences between athletes to create different techniques or additions to their game.

I've seen several changes to my game and technique over the years. I trust Clay Mack to build my skillset and cater to that to create a technique that works best for me.

I'm honest with myself. I'm still honing in on a lot of things I want to be as a player. To have the extra insight to say you need to to be doing this when I normally did that - that's what I'm getting from Clay Mack.

I know I'll be able to reach my full potential. I believe he can get me there because he's done this for a long time.

Oh, Notre Dame fans, Clay Mack trained our freshman All-American, Kyle Hamilton, so he's the real deal.

When I'm being trained by someone developing All-Americans, I know I'm in the right place.

That's it for now.

Pride out.

Rick Kimball/ISD
Troy Pride Jr.


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