South Carolina cornerback Troy Pride became the 21st commitment in the 2016 Notre Dame football class today when he announced for the Irish. The 247 Composite has 6'1"/185 pound prospect as the #387 overall player, #35 cornerback, and #6 player in South Carolina.
Pride was a high-priority recruit for Virginia Tech's Bud Foster; they put the early press on so effectively that he committed to the Hokies all the way back in February. He always intended to take his visits, though, and when he took an official to Notre Dame for the USC game rumors of his commitment wavering began to surface. When Frank Beamer announced his impending retirement, Pride took a step back from the process and decommitted on the way to reevaluating his options. The Notre Dame staff never let up, and finally on Christmas Eve they got one of their top cornerback targets in this cycle.
Recruiting Service Rankings
Rivals - 3 star (5.7 rating), NR overall, #32 position, #6 in South Carolina
247 - 4 star (95 rating), #85 overall, #9 position, #2 in South Carolina
ESPN - 3 star (73 rating), NR overall, #90 position, #24 in South Carolina
Scout - 3 star, NR overall, #62 position, #12 in South Carolina
247 Composite - 3 star (0.8804 rating), #387 overall, #35 position, #6 in South Carolina
If you're curious as to the disparities here, 247, Rivals, and Scout were all relatively in sync with each other until this week, when 247 adjusted their rankings. Pride got a huge bump, from about #270 overall to #85, based on a fantastic senior season and a dominant performance in the Shrine Bowl. This kid is the real deal.
In addition to Notre Dame, Pride holds offers from Clemson, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia Tech, among others.
Much like with Devin Studstill, this was a fun video to watch. Pride is an effortless athlete who moves very smoothly whether he's in coverage, catching passes, or running back kicks. His man coverage is excellent. He shows good speed - I highly doubt the 4.38 40 listed on his Hudl page, but he can definitely run - and, perhaps more importantly, excellent agility, moving in and out of breaks on offense and flipping his hips on defense with ease. On this reel, he even had a couple of nice run fills, jumped a couple of routes (gasp!) and perfectly covered a double move (oh my!).
At 6'1" and 175 pounds, he'll need to add some weight to be a three-down corner at the next level. I'm not sharp enough to know for sure, but I don't think he played any zone coverages on this reel, so I'm not sure if he's ready to step right into that for Notre Dame. Otherwise, though, he absolutely looks legit.
Assuming Keivarae Russell returns, as he should, I highly doubt that Pride will be able to pass him, Cole Luke, or Shaun Crawford on the depth chart. He should definitely be able to compete for a second-team role, however, and with the way he blocks kicks and covers ground he'll no doubt contribute all year on special teams.
Long Term / Career
Could Pride start by 2017? Very possible. There are bodies ahead of him on the depth chart, but I don't think anyone has distinguished himself to the point where you would say that a talented newbie definitely would have to sit behind any of them. I think he has a great shot to be a three-year starter and a potential lockdown corner.
Welcome to the family, Troy!