The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have a roster full of players, and we want to talk about them all. One Foot Down’s player profile series will take a look at every single one of them, and hopefully we all learn a little bit more about these guys and Notre Dame’s chances for the upcoming 2020 season.
#10 Isaiah Pryor, S
Isaiah Pryor arrives in South Bend with two years of eligibility remaining after transferring from the Ohio State Buckeyes. A four-star recruit out of IMG Academy, Pryor was the no. 63 overall player in the country and highly sought after by Notre Dame and just about every major program in the country before signing with the Buckeyes in 2017. In 2019, he entered the transfer portal after two years of on-and-off playing time in Columbus. He visited Notre Dame during the Virginia Tech weekend, and apparently the heroics of Ian Book and Jay Bramblett did the trick; Pryor committed the very next day.
While at Ohio State, Pryor played well when given the chance, but struggled to start week in and week out in a very talented defensive backfield. He totaled 47 tackles, 7 pass break-ups and one sack during his time with the Buckeyes. During his recruitment and tenure at Ohio State, Pryor was noted for his strength, size, tackling ability and hard-hitting, downhill playing style, which made him effective against the run. He projects as a strong safety in Notre Dame’s defense.
A few years ago, Notre Dame brought in an experienced, athletic, hard-hitting safety transfer. Things worked out pretty well for Alohi Gilman, who became a two-year starter and captain and will likely be a mid-round NFL draft selection this month. Pryor brings a skill set similar to Gilman’s, plus ideal size for the position (6’1”, 200 pounds), which Gilman lacked. If I am right and the spirit of Alohi now resides in him, we can expect top-flight heart, attitude and on-field results from Pryor.
If spring practice were happening right now, the competition between Pryor and Houston Griffith for a starting role at safety opposite Kyle Hamilton would be one of the most interesting and consequential ones to watch. After Pryor transferred, most assumed he would be the starter since Griffith had struggled in his first two years to gain a foothold on the roster. However, Griffith got first-team reps in what turned out to be Notre Dame’s only spring practice and earned rave reviews for his leadership and coverage in the passing game. Pryor held his own and was praised for his physically imposing play against the run, giving Notre Dame a problem it’s been dying to have for a long time: a surplus of great athletes fighting for playing time at safety.
In all likelihood, you will see both of these talented players get significant time, with Pryor’s strength against the run and Griffith’s skills in pass coverage determining which one plays more depending on the opponent. Regardless, Pryor’s athleticism, experience and hard-hitting style of play are always welcome on the field and in the locker room. He’s a great addition who we should be excited to welcome into the Irish family.