RB Chris Tyree, 5-10, 181; Chester (Va.) Thomas Dale
The numbers: Tyree rushed for 1,446 yards and 11 touchdowns on 177 carries as a junior. He also added 23 receptions for 302 yards and a touchdown. The Knights (9-3) ended last season with a 48-7 loss to Manchester in the second round of the VHSL Group 6A playoffs.
The rankings: 247Sports — Four stars, No. 1 APB, No. 51 overall. Rivals — Four stars, No. 1 APB, No. 60 overall.
First impression: Tyree possesses what Notre Dame needs the most on offense: speed. He’s not just faster than Dexter Williams, last year's starter. He looks faster than almost anyone that has played under Brian Kelly. Tyree also possesses a wide-ranging skill set with few weaknesses. He could finish high school as a five-star player.
Strengths: Like a light switch, Tyree can flip on the speed setting in an instant. Once Tyree bursts through a hole or to the outside, not many defenders can keep up with his breakaway speed. Tyree’s vision and patience helps him time the correct alleyways to run through. He plays bigger than he is and can run inside and outside the tackles.
Defenders in solid position still struggle to tackle Tyree because of his quick cuts and speed. His elusiveness helps him make something out of nothing at times. Tyree flashes impressive instincts and ball skills as a defensive back and receiver. He should be a capable kick returner and could be effective when operating in the slot.
Proof of prowess: (:10) Tyree seems to locate holes before they open. He stutters for a split second before cutting inward and to the right side of the second level. One more cut to the inside shakes off the opposing defensive back. Three defenders are well within tackling range, but Tyree’s speed creates separation in an instant … (3:02) He steps out of bounds, but Tyree hauls in a pass nearly impossible for someone of his size to catch. With a vertical nearing 40 inches and his speed, Tyree could become a threat through the air once he sharpens his route running.
(5:36) Arm tackling won’t suffice when trying to bring down Tyree. His quick cuts and speed make him too slippery for the two whiffing defenders … (6:38) Tyree has a knack for making something out of nothing. On the verge of being stonewalled, Tyree reverses his outside run to the right side. His speed allows him to get to the edge for a sizable gain.
(6:54) Tyree juxtaposes his speed with a patience that helps him better identify running lanes. He takes his time on the outside toss as he waits for his right guard and tackle to reach their blocks. Once they seal the edge, Tyree cuts inside and bursts through the hole before putting on the brakes and weaving back to the outside. His ability to stop on a dime and accelerate in an instant makes him dangerous.
Competition level: Virginia continues to boast ripe football talent. 247Sports has offered four-star ratings to nine of its 2020 recruits. Tyree competes in the highest VHSL division in Group 6A. Thomas Dale faced a few teams in VHSL’s lower divisions that ranked among the best in their classification. The two best VHSL Group 6A teams Tyree competed against were Manchester and Cosby (twice). They ranked No. 1 and No. 28 in the state per MaxPreps, respectively.
Four-star linebacker Ethan West, a 2020 commit for North Carolina, led Cosby's defense. Tyree turned seven carries into 42 yards and a touchdown with one reception for 10 yards in Thomas Dale’s 38-0 blowout over Cosby. The Knights bested the Titans again in the first round of the playoffs, winning 7-0 under Tyree’s 13 carries for 79 yards.
One of Tyree’s best games came against Granby. Competing against 2021 four-star defensive tackle Katron Evans, Tyree rushed for 138 yards on 14 carries en route to Thomas Dale’s 30-10 victory. Manchester featured defensive end Hakeem Beamon, who signed to Penn State's 2019 class. The Lancers held Tyree to a quiet five carries for 35 yards and two catches for 12 yards.
Left to prove: Added strength and weight would serve Tyree well. If Tyree played near 195 pounds, he could carry a heavier workload and improve his durability. In order to see the field early for the Irish, Tyree must improve his physicality and pass protection abilities. Despite his current physical limitations, Tyree still plays bigger than he is and can run inside the tackles.
Tyree will need to maintain his speed once he bulks up. He won’t be able to get away with reversing the field or going east-to-west as much in college. By sharpening his route-running abilities, Tyree could be more effective in the slot and open Notre Dame’s playbook.