Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Pride Essential For Notre Dame

March 27, 2019

There is zero debate around Notre Dame that the cornerback room is now under the leadership of Troy Pride Jr. 

The 5-foot-11, 194-pounder is coming off a breakout 2018 season and it’s on him to help lead the youth at cornerback. 

“Guys are stepping up,” Pride stated. “DJ Brown moving to safety, he’s played well. TaRiq Bracy is playing better than me. Those guys are stepping in. Houston (Griffith) was thrown in a role he hasn’t been in. He was a safety. Those guys are doing phenomenal.” 

The Greer (S.C.) native has also seen younger players at linebacker start to step up over the first few weeks of spring ball. 

“Paul Moala, Shayne Simon, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah,” said Pride. “Those guys are coming along and doing well. They have bought into the system and making plays. That’s what I love to see.” 

Pride established himself last fall, but he will have to perform at a higher level on Saturday’s to earn and keep the respect as one of the leaders on Clark Lea’s defense. 

“I’m doing everything for my teammates and doing my job,” explained Pride. “In the locker room, I’m just working and that’s what I want to do. I love football. When I’m out there, I want to play my best and be the best for my team.” 

With one year left, it might be easier to focus on his own game, but that’s not Troy Pride Jr. 

Pride has taken Avery Davis under his wing this spring as the former quarterback/running back makes the transition to cornerback. 

“AD is a fluid athlete,” Pride said. “Moving to corner, he’s already picking it up. He’s very physical. I saw him jam someone almost to the sideline. We have to continue to work those little things at corner. Once he hits the ground running, the sky is the limit for him because he’s built solid and he can move well. 

“I have worked with him a little bit. We’re working every day and I’m teaching him little things about the position. He’s going to be to thrive.” 

The increased leadership doesn’t end with Davis. Pride is making sure his cornerback room shows growth each practice and it starts with embracing competition.

“I want to see us continue to compete making plays on the ball,” stated Pride. “I’m upset with myself because I don’t have any interceptions. We need to have the competitive nature to continue to win. I want to really see it to another level where we are dominating.” 

Embracing competition is something Pride has always shown at Notre Dame, but it’s at the forefront more than ever as he battles with senior receiver Chase Claypool every day. 

During Tuesday’s practice, Pride had phenomenal coverage on Claypool, but the 6-foot-5 receiver went up and made incredible plays few players can make in college football. 

Pride wasn’t pleased with the balls that were caught on him, so he stayed after practice to work on a few things on Tuesday. 

 “Chase had a great day,” Pride said. “I had to get some work in after because I gave up a couple routes and had bad press technique. Sometimes you have to take your hat off. That’s a great player and I’m happy I get to go against him.” 

Speaking of being a competitor, Pride is one of the few student-athletes at Notre Dame who have played two sports. 

Pride debated running track this spring after running his first two seasons, but decided to focus on football.

However, Pride managed to sneak in the 2019 Alex Wilson Invitational in February. He finished in second place in the 60m with a 6.8 with just three days of practice.

“I would say so, but you never know,” Pride said of being done with track. “I ran some random meet this past spring. I’m focusing on football, the spring game and practice. I haven’t really thought about it.” 

Pride admitted his body felt a little different this spring after not running track full-time along with spring ball, which could be to Notre Dame’s benefit in the fall. 

“There are definitely benefits in it,” said Pride. “I felt a lot more put together. I wasn’t stretching myself too thin and wasn’t out every weekend on a flight. I also feel faster. I feel good. Maybe it was taking out track or me being at a more focused level.” 

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