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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Coach Sean Cooper on JD Price: 'He has made me a better husband and father'

February 22, 2021

Notre Dame takes pride in landing the best of the best on and off the field each year, but the Irish might have reached a new bar with its newest commit JD Price‍. 

The Denison (Texas) running back has worked with Sean Cooper of C4 Sports Performance for years and the match with Notre Dame couldn't be better.

"A place like Notre Dame is perfect for him and that was my conversation with him," Cooper told ISD. "I told him the prestige, tradition and the academics of Notre Dame all fit him. He has a 4.1 GPA and he never gets into trouble. The last time he got in trouble was third grade and that wasn't even trouble.”

Cooper not only noticed the fit on the field and in the classroom, but that running backs coach Lance Taylor figured out how to recruit the four-star prospect quickly. 

"I'm glad Notre Dame came in when they came in," explained Cooper. "I'm almost glad they didn't come in too early. He said one thing he liked Coach Taylor was that he hit him up, but not three times a day. People don't understand that about JD. He doesn't like the clout."

The 5-foot-11, 185-pounder ran for 1,145 yards and 18 touchdowns last season, but it's Price's drive to be better mentally that has impressed Cooper. 

"He's quiet, but he's mentally tough, smart and intense," Cooper said. "He can break down film like a college guy already. He understands it. He sometimes texts me on Friday night a question or two, and they're educated questions. He wants to know about football."

Price has the speed on the field every program craves. The difference in his game compared to his peers is his footwork and vision. 

"Physically, Notre Dame is getting a kid who has deceiving speed and his acceleration is great," Cooper explained. "JD's feet and eyes are the cream of the crop.

"He avoids tackles and doesn't take a lot of big hits because he sets things up and he's very patient. If you don't understand the running back position, you might think he's tip-toeing, but his eyes are so good that he's so patient and allows things to set up. He has the feet and acceleration to pick and choose his spots to get from point A to point B." 

Price will now turn his attention to adding a little bit more weight during the offseason. The goal isn't for him to get too big, but to add enough weight to get him through the season and arrive at Notre Dame in January without losing weight during the season. 

"Right now, we want to put on some weight," stated Cooper. "He just got done playing basketball and we want to get him up to a certain weight. There is a weight he wants to get to and that's his No. 1 goal, but also maintain it during the season. 

"He's planning to leave early, so he really wants to maintain the weight during the season." 

The Texas native is also a gifted basketball player, a sport that he's able to flash his explosion. In fact, basketball might have been his first love, but after a big freshman season of 1,400 yards, the plan changed for Price. 

"God has blessed him," said Cooper. "Basketball was his first sport. When he was younger, JD was the best hooper around. He really loved basketball. He's a huge Dallas Cowboys fan and he had a big freshman year. 

"He's always been able to hoop, but that athleticism has always been there. He's gotten stronger, but he's just naturally gifted. JD is always determined to get better, but he's so gifted. The training is the training, but because of the relationship and I've been there, it helps the training because he trusts everything I say." 

It's clear Cooper and Price have a relationship that goes much deeper than football, but his mother has also been a driving force in his life as the expectations at home are even higher. 

"His mother is really strong," stated Cooper. "He has two younger sisters and they're the same way. They're straight-A students. His mother has been the rock. She's very protective of her children, but she trusts them. JD and his sisters are smart and his mother has paved the way." 

Price's core values are what make the match with Notre Dame so attractive to those around him. It's the perfect fit as both sides found what they were looking for in this recruitment. 

"Until about two months ago, our conversations never centered around recruiting," Cooper explained. "After football, I told him he had to speed it up a lot more because of COVID and everything.

"He's a Notre Dame human being. I think it's a great fit. The academics and prestige of Notre Dame are important to him and his mother because the No. 1 goal is to graduate. He wants to be an All-American, but the No. 1 goal for him, his mother and me is to graduate. 

"The opportunity to earn a degree from Notre Dame and that tradition - I told him it's a once in a lifetime opportunity. A lot of universities are prestigious, but there is nothing like Notre Dame. Those are the conversations we had. Taking it back to Jerome Bettis, Rocket Ismail, Ricky Watters and those are the things I talked to him about and I think he saw that success. You go to Notre Dame and you're perceived as successful."

When Price arrives, the Denison star might be quiet, but he'll raise the bar in time as he has leadership qualities that come out when needed. 

"He's a unique kid," said Cooper. "He's made me a better husband and father this year. We were at a 7-on-7 tournament last year in Houston. We were in the semifinals and we got beat because we should have won. I'm like, 'Everyone go to the car.' 

"He never says anything, but he was like 'We have to break it out.' At that point, I realized he was the adult and the leader. When I failed, he picked me up and had my back. I told him thank you for that. 

"He's never really vocal and it shocked me. Being around him, you have to be better because he's so good. I'm leading him and this is his standard. He has made me a better husband and father for my family. I told his mother that and I mean that with all my heart." 

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