On Friday, we learned that Notre Dame Fighting Irish freshman running back Jadarian Price suffered a season-ending torn achilles injury during offseason workouts. The Texas native was an early enrollee for Notre Dame this past spring, and impressed the coaching staff, media, and fans with his size, speed, and natural running ability.
Irish freshman running back Jadarian Price had surgery to repair a ruptured achilles tendon June 24, after being injured during summer offseason training. Surgery was completed by Dr. Thomas Bemenderfer. Price is expected to miss the 2022 season.— Notre Dame Football PR Team (@NDFootballPR) June 24, 2022
It’s fair to say that Price’s spring results were exactly what Notre Dame was looking for from him to help the team during the 2022 season. There was a lot of excitement from multiple parties about what Price was going to bring to the table right at the start against the Ohio State Buckeyes. Now that Price is out for the year — what does this mean for the Irish?
Simply put... the margin of error in the Notre Dame running back room is now razor thin. The talent still available to the Irish is still very, very good — but the number of bodies available to them is dwindling.
The Irish were already going to be down a back to start the year as Sophomore Logan Diggs is still recovering from a shoulder injury that required surgery. Some say that he may not be able to return until October. This leaves the Irish with Junior Chris Tyree, Sophomore Audric Estime, and Freshman Gi’Bran Payne.
Let’s be reasonable here... most years three running backs are more than enough. In some years — it ain’t even close. That’s how random the injury card is thrown out. We just won’t know until we’re all of a sudden looking at an injury here or there.
What I do know is that between those three backs, Notre Dame should still possess something special in the backfield. Chris Tyree is 100% and looks like he got a little bigger/stronger in the offseason. Tyree, as a burner, would ideally be used more as a back that gets about 10-12 carries a game and if Audric Estime proves himself to be a reliable back — this can still be the case. Honestly, I have a lot of faith in both Estime as a running back of impact and with Tyree as a game breaker.
Even with my faith in Estime and Tyree, the Irish are still going to need a third back available to them this season. Thankfully the Irish got a late addition in their 2022 class with 4-Star Gi’Bran Payne from Cincinnati, Ohio. Payne wasn’t able to enroll at Notre Dame until June, so we don’t have a lot to go on at the moment — but it’s pretty incredible that just a few months ago he was headed to play for the Indiana Hoosiers and now he’s in position to get carries right away as a freshman for Notre Dame.
In two seasons with the Irish, Tyree has ran for 718 yards and 5 touchdowns and amassed 323 receiving yards with 2 touchdowns. While these aren’t eye-popping numbers, he did it behind Kyren Williams so it actually makes quite a bit of sense.
Look... Notre Dame needs to pray for running back health as they await the return of Logan Diggs, but even if Diggs was healthy, who’s to say that Estime and Tyree wouldn’t have been THE 1-2 punch the Irish used the most. What we started to bank on was that Jadarian Price was going to be able to give the Irish a lot of carries this fall, and possibly allow Tyree to become more involved in the passing game. That game-planning difference is probably what impacts Notre Dame the most — IF THE REST OF THE ROOM STAYS HEALTHY.
It’s going to be a very interesting fall camp on the offensive side of the ball as the Irish break in a new starter at QB in Tyler Buchner, deal with a small wide receiver room, and now a lack of bodies at running back. How the Irish put this together in August may determine what kind of season Notre Dame has by November.