Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Cotton Bowl | Pride Familiar With Clemson

December 27, 2018

ARLINGTON, Texas - Notre Dame cornerback Troy Pride Jr. might have a little more familiarity than most on the roster for the Irish. 

The Greer (S.C.) native was recruited by the Tigers and took a visit to the Clemson-Notre Dame game in 2015. 

In the end, Pride chose the Irish and hasn’t looked back as Notre Dame fans have made him feel right at home. 

“There are so many Notre Dame fans that know about Notre Dame’s history,” stated Pride. “It’s amazing to see. I could wear a Notre Dame shirt and there will be 10-12 people stop me and ask if I play for the team or if I remember something. They’re rattling off information and that’s awesome. 

“I’ve met so many lifelong fans. It’s been amazing to see. You talk about the tradition and there is so much with that with the fans and the stadium You see things you wouldn’t necessarily see at other schools.” 

However, it’s not fair to say Pride wasn’t interested in Dabo Swinney’s Tigers. 

“During the time they recruited me, I strongly considered Clemson,” explained Pride. “They were a team coming up and showing a lot of interest. I was considering a lot of different aspects and what they could offer me.”

Despite being 10 hours away and having his younger brother playing football at North Carolina A&T, Pride’s family routinely is in the stands in South Bend and on the road. 

“My mother comes to whatever game she wants to,” laughed Pride. “My family has gotten a chance to be at a lot of different games and be very active in watching me play.” 

Pride has been a significant part of Notre Dame’s defensive success as he plays opposite All-American cornerback Julian Love. 

However, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for Pride this year as he sprained his ankle against Virginia Tech and missed the next game against Pitt.  He wasn’t 100% against Navy but the added time off has allowed him to heal and most importantly, get back his elite speed.

“It was tough,” Pride said. “It’s a nagging injury. I had to fight through it and really hone in on my details of the technique I do. I had to be very methodical with everything I did. You can really grow as a player going through different trials and tribulations.” 

As the Irish are two days away from the  Cotton Bowl matchup with Clemson, Pride knows the work isn’t done just yet.

“It’s been a great season and a great season for our team,” stated Pride. “We’re in the College Football Playoff. We’ve worked so hard to get to this point and we’re going to continue to work hard.” 

Notre Dame will need to slow down Clemson quarterback  Trevor Lawrence and Pride will be a significant part of that equation. 

“He’s done a great job this year,” Pride explained. “We’ve watched a lot of film on him. We saw the things he can do and we know it’s a big challenge.” 

Pride also admitted the team is aware some don’t feel they belong in the College Football Playoff. 

“We don’t listen to outside sources and we never have,” said Pride. “At the same time, it makes us be better for each other. If you think we can’t do this, we can all do this and be better together.” 

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