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Notre Dame Football

Bold Prediction For 2019 | No. 1

June 25, 2019

As we hit the Dead Period in recruiting and the coaches take time off for vacation in July, it’s time to make some bold predictions with fall camp a little over a month away. 

The first one might not be the boldest, but it may intrigue some, so here we go. 

Senior cornerback Troy Pride Jr. will be an All-American. 

The 5-foot-11, 194-pounder recorded 22 tackles, 10 passes defended and one interception as a sophomore in 2017. Pride then basically doubled his production in every category in 2018 with 47 tackles, 10 passes defended. two interceptions and one forced fumble. 

It’s not crazy to think Pride will increase those stats in 2019 as he’ll be the No. 1 cornerback as Julian Love left for the NFL. 

Now, Pride might not get picked on as much with Love gone, but I could also see Notre Dame giving him a chance to follow around the opposition’s best receiver more than in the past. Love and Pride were basically field and boundary players the last two seasons. 

Using Pride’s elite speed should be an area defensive coordinator Clark Lea takes advantage of and could lead to not strictly playing field and boundary as much. 

Yes, I mentioned elite speed. In Notre Dame’s spring combine testing, Pride recorded a 4.32 40, which isn’t a surprise to anyone, but some have also stated it was faster. 

The significant thing is Pride has learned how to play to his speed. There were times last fall where Pride was beaten, but he easily caught up with the receiver. I’m not talking just deep balls, but slants and digs, which is why his passes defended went up by a large margin. 

“Troy has speed that everyone wants,” explained Lea this spring. “God gifted him that. Where we can help Troy is where his eyes were or displaced the route laterally or how he gets into a fit position. His ability to isolate the result and focus on the feedback is an important part of his progression. I’m excited about Troy and I think he has a chance to be an elite corner. I love his mentality right now and he’s setting a course for a really good fall camp.” 

Pride is also a player who plays with a chip on his shoulder and doesn’t lack confidence. He didn’t give up a touchdown in 2018 until the USC game when JT Daniels hit Tyler Vaughns for a 20-yard score with 48 seconds to play. 

It’s a tall task not to give up a touchdown all year, but that’s something that will motivate a kid like Pride throughout the offseason, especially being so close to it last season.

Receiver Chase Claypool and Pride had also had some very heated 1-on-1 battles this spring. Claypool held a five-inch advantage, but Pride competed and won his fair share of battles. That competition only made both better as we saw a year ago with Miles Boykin and Love. 

Pride not only had a big spring, but he worked on his leadership and brought many of the younger guys up to speed.

“I’m doing everything for my teammates and doing my job,” Pride said in the spring. “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.” 

Plus...there might not be a better air guitar player in the country. That has to count for something, right? 

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