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.
#28 TaRiq Bracy, CB
TaRiq Bracy committed to Notre Dame on December 10th, 2017 to join the 2018 recruiting class. He selected Notre Dame over offers from Boise State, California, Utah, and Washington State. Per 247Sports Composite Rankings, Bracy was a 3 star recruit. He was rated as the 30th best athlete in the class of 2018 and the 51st best prospect in the state of California. Bracy’s hometown is Milpitas, California, and he attended Milpitas High School. Bracy currently stands 5’ 10’’ and weighs 180 lbs.
As a freshman, Bracy appeared in 12 out of a possible 13 games (did not play against Navy). He registered 18 tackles and forced 1 fumble. His best game of the year came against Pittsburgh when he registered 7 tackles while filling in for an injured Troy Pride Jr. On the flip side, the worst game of his freshman campaign came against USC. Throughout the first half the Trojans repeatedly targeted whoever he was covering as he struggled to hold up in man coverage.
During his sophomore season, Bracy became a key rotational piece for Clark Lea at cornerback. Though he allowed a 61% completion rate when targeted, Bracy never appeared to lose confidence. He played in all 13 games last season, registering 34 tackles, causing 1 fumble, recovering 2 fumbles, and deflecting 7 passes. He was among the nation leaders with a 90.8 tackling grade from Pro Football Focus.
Despite its small size, a Mongoose is one of the most fearless animals around. Known for their epic fights with snakes, Mongooses have actually evolved to become immune to a certain amount of snake venom. As the video above demonstrates, these creatures are rarely afraid of anything they come across in the wild. Similarly, Bracy never shies away from any wide receiver he comes across. Though he may be small in stature, he takes the fight to whomever he lines up against.
The cornerback position is filled with unknowns head into the 2020 season. TaRiq Bracy will be leaned on heavily in a position group that is bereft of experience. He will most likely be the starting Boundary Cornerback, which is the position that is often matched up with the premier wide receiver on the opposing team. Bracy will need to improve upon his coverage skills if Notre Dame wants to continue to be among the nation’s leaders in Team Passing Efficiency. Despite playing 573 career snaps, Bracy has yet to miss a tackle in his career. Though he will not completely shut down one side of the field, he will limit big plays by getting receivers to the ground after a catch.
In order to take the step from rotational piece to elite cornerback, Bracy will need to become more of a ballhawk than in years past. Currently, he is still searching for his 1st career interception. He has also shown a great ability to quickly bounce back after giving up a catch, a necessary trait for a cornerback. If he is able to cut down on his completion rate when targeted, Bracy should be able to use his elite tackling and mental makeup to become Notre Dame’s next top cornerback.