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Notre Dame Football

ISD Draft Diary | Troy Pride Jr. Part II

January 29, 2020
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Former Fighting Irish 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 for Irish Sports Daily to document his experience over the next five months, as told to Matt Freeman: 

Last week, I was blessed with an opportunity to compete at the Reese’s Senior Bowl, and I want to thank Jim Nagy for the great experience.

Entering the week, I won’t lie: I was expecting to make a name for myself. Notre Dame is a big-time program, but I didn’t necessarily have my name out there. People had likely heard my name, but it wasn’t at the top of draft boards. Heading to Mobile (Ala.), I was ready to compete against the best of the best all week in practice and in the game. It was the ultimate arena to enter my name as one of the best - one of the best competitors and players. 

For me, it wasn’t about being the best cornerback. I wanted to showcase I was a complete player on special teams and a player who could contribute in multiple areas. 

A year ago, I remember turning on the TV and seeing the ascension of Rock Ya-Sin, the DB from Temple, and knew that could be me.

The Senior Bowl is a pressure-cooker, but it can also be a force for good. It’s a microscope. Every drill is watched. Each play is scrutinized. Growing up, you know each 1-on-1 is going to be televised. You know if you slip on a route and the receiver runs by you, you’re going to get called out by every analyst, coach and person there is. 

That’s why I chose Notre Dame. It prepared me to handle last week. I don’t think I felt pressure. I don’t think that was because of the environment, but because it was a pressure situation like many of the big games I’ve played in for Notre Dame. It was more of my mindset that changed. 

This is where you have to raise your game. NFL scouts are going to watch your practice and then ask you about what you did on certain plays in practice. 

We had the media and scouts at practice at Notre Dame, so I wasn’t worried about who was there. I was never worried about what was going on. I was just concerned with making sure I competed on every rep and in every drill. I wanted to pride myself on running to the next drill. I wanted to pride myself on being the first guy in line, even if no one else wanted to go in a complex drill. I wanted to go at everything as fast as I could. 

That’s what competition is and when you can go into a pressure environment and compete, it makes it that much more rewarding in the end regardless of how you do. You take wins and losses, but competing was my biggest focus. 

And yes, there have been a lot of people who talk about my name pretty loosely and their own idea of who I am, but it’s not really about the doubters. 

I have always known who I was and to be honest, it was almost a deja vu moment for me. In high school, I went through a series of practices for our Shrine Bowl and I had a pretty good week. I opened some eyes and received a couple offers after guys saw me live. It was a similar situation in terms of going against the best North Carolina and South Carolina had to offer, but I didn’t have the best game. 

I got a text from my agent following Tuesday’s practice telling me people were saying I had a good day. I shrugged it off. On Wednesday, I got a similar text, as well as again on Thursday. 
My mindset at the time was ‘Ok, whatever.’ 

People might have been figuring it out during the week, but I always knew this about myself. I’ve always known what I could do and who I was. It was about showing it and being who I am as a competitor and being comfortable. I was in that realm last week. God allowed me to shine in one of my biggest moments. 

Yes, I should have taken that interception to the house. Golly! 

Let me explain. 

It was crazy, right. The play came and I saw the ball and intercepted it. I was on the ground and you can see on the video there was a pause. I was like, ‘Wait a second. Let’s slide!’ I got up and started running. 

I thought I was going to get everyone over to the boundary, cut up and the other side of the field was going to be wide open. As I’m cutting back, I got hit. I went down. I watched the video. If I kept running straight, it would have been a touchdown. 

It was frustrating to see, but I’m just blessed to be in that position and have the opportunity. 

The other part of the Senior Bowl was the opportunity to meet with NFL teams and personnel. I was able to meet with just about every team for at least 15 minutes. 

Every scout that was there, I met with in person, and I did meet with some teams more extensively. 
I sat down with the Miami Dolphins in a pretty informal setting. They had a number of coaches and just me. It was a pressure-cooker situation. The Saints and I did the same, and I went through a whole interview process with some of their coaches and personnel. 

It was a lot. I was sitting down with a lot of different individuals. I was able to explain who I was, what I can do, but also what I could bring to a franchise and my values. I also was able to show my football IQ and how quickly I can learn. I had some pretty fun times in those interviews.

I’m back in Dallas now and my focus is about continuing to make a name for myself. It’s going to be about putting the work down first. 

Everyone has God-given talents, but what you do with those talents is what makes you who you are. If you have God-given speed, but never train to make your technique right, then you’re going to reach a ceiling. 

I’m just working to be an all-around complete football player. I’m working to contribute to someone’s team and make my family proud. I’m working to play the game I love for as long as I can. 

It’s about getting one percent better every day. 

That’s it for now, but I’ll be back soon. 

Pride out. 

ISD Draft Diary | Troy Pride Jr. Part I

 
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