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Notre Dame 99-to-2: No. 5 Troy Pride, starting cornerback, senior

Troy Pride

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 15: Notre Dame Fighting Irish cornerback Troy Pride Jr. (5) intercepts a ball thrown by Vanderbilt Commodores quarterback Kyle Shurmur (14) in the 3rd quarter during a college football game between the Vanderbilt Commodores and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on September 15, 2018, at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, IN. Notre Dame won 22-17. (Photo by Daniel Bartel/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Listed Measurements: 5-foot-11 ½, 194 pounds.2019-20 year, eligibility: A senior, Pride enters his final season.Depth chart: Pride will start, on which side of the field depending more on whom Notre Dame lines up as the No. 2 cornerback than on Pride. He has proven himself on the field side and would remain there if the Irish could find someone physical enough in coverage to handle boundary duties, an ongoing search to this point.Recruiting: The consensus four-star prospect, a South Carolina native, ignored the Southeast’s finest, including Clemson and Virginia Tech, to choose Notre Dame as the No. 23 cornerback in the country, per

Pride will finish his career as a full-time starter in two seasons with a smattering of starts in the other two, as well. Such are the results of joining a decimated secondary in 2016 and impressing enough to get a chance in the second half of his sophomore year.

That November starting cameo came when knee tendonitis limited Nick Watkins. Pride then supplanted Watkins in spring practices, leading to the latter’s transfer to Houston.

Even as a starter in all or parts of three seasons, Pride was largely overlooked last year. That will happen when playing opposite a consensus first-team All-American busy setting program records.

2016: 8 games, 3 starts; 12 tackles and one fumble recovery.2017: 12 games, 4 starts; 22 tackles with one for loss; one interception with two pass breakups.2018: 12 games, 12 starts (an ankle injury cost Pride the Pittsburgh game); 47 tackles with 1.5 for loss; two interceptions with 10 pass breakups along with one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

A year ago, the highlights of spring practices came when watching Julian Love covering Miles Boykin. Love was a proven star; Boykin winning half the matchups forecast his coming breakthrough.

This past spring, senior receiver Chase Claypool bested Pride as often as not. Neither is as established as Love, so Claypool’s success is not as clear an indicator as Boykin’s was. But then again, Pride gave up only one touchdown last season, a 20-yarder to USC’s Tyler Vaughns in the final minute of the game. Watching Claypool blow by him a few times in March and April may have dinged Pride’s ego, but Irish defensive coordinator Clark Lea would rather it happen then than in September, not to mention the confidence it may have instilled in Claypool.

“You have to learn to respond to negative outcomes by moving on to the next snap and by getting the information you can use to learn from it,” Lea said the week of the Blue-Gold Game. “... I want Troy to experience what it is to get beat, and he is in a battle every day with Chase Claypool. It’s a fun thing to look at.

“He can’t be so outcome-oriented that he’s not staying within his process. … Troy has speed that everyone wants. God gave him that. What we can help Troy with is where his eyes were, how he displaced the route laterally, or how he gets into a fit position with his legs.”

“Pride taking over the starting gig on the field side during spring practice was a bit of a surprise. Watkins was invited back for a fifth year, after all, and was a known commodity, so Pride surpassing him speaks more to his development than Watkins underperforming.

“Thus, there is no reason to think Pride has not continued that progression through this summer and will do even more so in preseason practice. Logic understands Pride falling behind a touch in the past when devoting some springtime to the starting blocks. That same logic expects a grasp of the playbook and usual defensive responsibilities to strengthen when sprinting duties do not beckon.

“That should lead to Pride starting 13 games this fall. He will undoubtedly be remembered for a couple touchdowns given up, as all cornerbacks are, but he suddenly presents as a pseudo-shutdown cornerback to complement Love’s All-American campaign. As far as Irish cornerbacks coach Todd Lyght is concerned, Pride’s success will include a few interceptions and a half dozen pass breakups along with 40-plus tackles. That may seem to be a leap given his 22 tackles, one interception and two pass breakups a year ago, but that jump is a safe one when factoring in a large portion of Watkins’ numbers (29 tackles, one interception and eight pass breakups). The two did split time much of 2017.”

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: APR 13 Notre Dame Spring Game

SOUTH BEND, IN - APRIL 13: Notre Dame Fighting Irish wide receiver Chase Claypool (83) battles with Notre Dame Fighting Irish cornerback Troy Pride Jr. (5) in action during the Notre Dame Football Blue and Gold Spring game on April 13, 2019 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, IN. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Let’s not make the mistake of comparing Pride to Love. They approach cornerback duties in different ways. Love developed to be quite the ball hawk. Pride, meanwhile, relies on not only his speed, but also overall coverage ability. Giving up only one touchdown in 12 games is notable on its own, but realizing Pride did that while opponents tended to avoid throwing toward Love makes that accomplishment even more laudable.

Whether on the field or the boundary this season, Notre Dame will need Pride to maintain that consistency. If he can be a shutdown corner, combined with the strong play from the Irish safeties, it may not matter who starts opposite him; the Notre Dame secondary will be in good shape.

Along the field, Pride’s speed and ability to read a wide array of possibilities serves him well. Along the boundary, his work in one-on-one coverage would be tested, but the odds are it will be the best option for Lea.

Pride will be drafted. The biggest question will be how fast the track star runs the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine. He reportedly ran a 4.32 in Notre Dame’s internal testing. That is, well, absurd. Only four players ran faster than that in this spring’s combine, all getting drafted in the second round. That kind of speed could push Pride into the second or third round, as well.

The last time the Irish had cornerbacks drafted in back-to-back years? 2003 (Shane Walton, fifth round) and 2004 (Vontez Duff, sixth round).

NOTRE DAME 99-to-2:
No. 95: Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive tackle
No. 94: Isaiah Foskey, freshman defensive end, consensus four-star
No. 94: Darnell Ewell, defensive tackle
No. 91: Ade Ogundeji, defensive end
No. 90: Hunter Spears, defensive tackle, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 89: Brock Wright, tight end
No. 88: Javon McKinley, receiver
No. 87: Michael Young, receiver
No. 85: George Takacs, tight end
No. 84: Cole Kmet, tight end
No. 83: Chase Claypool, receiver
No. 80: Micah Jones, receiver
No. 78: Tommy Kraemer, right guard, three-year starter
No. 77: Quinn Carroll, offensive tackle, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 76: Dillan Gibbons, offensive guard
No. 75: Josh Lugg, offensive lineman
No. 74: Liam Eichenberg, left tackle, two-year starter
No. 73: Andrew Kristofic, offensive tackle, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 72: Robert Hainsey, offensive tackle, three-year starter
No. 71: John Olmstead, offensive lineman, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 69: Aaron Banks, left guard
No. 60: Cole Mabry, offensive tackle
No. 57: Trevor Ruhland, veteran backup offensive lineman
No. 57: Jayson Ademilola, defensive tackle
No. 56: John Dirksen, offensive lineman
No. 56: Howard Cross, incoming freshman defensive lineman, consensus four-star
No. 55: Jarrett Patterson, starting center
No. 55: Ja’Mion Franklin, defensive tackle returning from injury
No. 54: Jacob Lacey, consensus four-star defensive tackle, early enrollee
No. 54: John Shannon, long snapper
No. 53: Khalid Kareem, senior defensive end
No. 52: Zeke Correll, consensus four-star center, early enrollee
No. 52: Bo Bauer, linebacker, sophomore
No. 47: Kofi Wardlow, junior defensive end
No. 45: Jonathan Jones, senior inside linebacker
No. 44: Jamir Jones, senior defensive end
No. 42: Julian Okwara, senior defensive end
No. 41: Kurt Hinish, junior defensive tackle
No. 40: Drew White, junior inside linebacker
No. 39: Jonathan Doerer, junior kicker
No. 35: TaRiq Bracy, sophomore cornerback
No. 35: Marist Liufau, Hawaiian freshman linebacker
No. 34: Jahmir Smith, sophomore running back
No. 34: Osita Ekwonu, inside linebacker, consensus four-star
No. 33: Shayne Simon, sophomore linebacker
No. 31: Jack Lamb, sophomore linebacker
No. 30: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, junior linebacker
No. 29: Ovie Oghoufo, sophomore linebacker-turned-defensive end
No. 27: J.D. Bertrand, consensus four-star linebacker
No. 25: Braden Lenzy, speedy sophomore receiver
No. 24: Tommy Tremble, sophomore tight end
No. 24: Jack Kiser, early-enrolled freshman linebacker, Mr. Indiana Football
No. 23: Litchfield Ajavon, four-star safety, freshman
No. 23: Kyren Williams, early-enrolled freshman running back
No. 22: Kendall Abdur-Rahman, quarterback-turned-receiver, freshman
No. 22: Asmar Bilal, the only returning starting linebacker
No. 21: Jalen Elliott, three-year starting safety
No. 20: Shaun Crawford, defensive back returning from yet another injury
No. 20: C’Bo Flemister, sophomore running back
No. 19: Jay Bramblett, freshman punter
No. 19: Justin Ademilola, sophomore defensive end
No. 18: Joe Wilkins, sophomore receiver
No. 18: Nana Osafo-Mensah, freshman defensive end, consensus four-star
No. 17: Isaiah Robertson, junior receiver
No. 16: K.J. Wallace, freshman defensive back, three-star
No. 15 Isaiah Rutherford, freshman defensive back, consensus four-star
No. 15: Phil Jurkovec, sophomore quarterback
No. 14: Kyle Hamilton, freshman safety, consensus four-star
No. 13: Lawrence Keys, sophomore receiver
No. 13: Paul Moala, sophomore safety-turned-linebacker
No. 12: DJ Brown, sophomore cornerback-turned-safety
No. 12: Ian Book, starting quarterback
No. 11: Alohi Gilman, senior safety
No. 10: Chris Finke, fifth-year receiver, second-year starter
No. 9: Cam Hart, freshman receiver
No. 9: Daelin Hayes, senior defensive end
No. 8: Donte Vaughn, senior cornerback
No. 8: Jafar Armstrong, starting running back, junior
No. 7: Brendon Clark, freshman quarterback
No. 7: Derrik Allen, sophomore safety
No. 6: Tony Jones, senior running back