Film study: Notre Dame CB commit Troy Pride Jr.

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

CB Troy Pride Jr., 6-0, 165; Greer (S.C.) High.

The numbers: Pride impacted all three phases of the game in his senior season at Greer. He recorded 53 tackles, three interceptions, two tackles for a loss, two fumbles recoveries, one sack and a touchdown as a cornerback. On offense, Pride caught 31 passes for 621 yards and nine touchdowns and rushed for 183 yards and three touchdowns. He also returned three punts for touchdowns. The Yellow Jackets (11-1) finished the season with a loss in the second round of the SCHSL Class AAA playoffs.

The rankings: 247Sports — Four stars, No. 7 cornerback. Rivals — Four stars, No. 23 cornerback.

FILM BREAKDOWN

First impression: Pride is a lean athlete who makes his job look effortless. Whether he’s making plays on offense, defense or special teams, Pride relies on his speed and athleticism. He may need time to add strength, but Pride should be able to keep up with receivers from the start of his Notre Dame career.

Strengths: Pride possesses good speed and even better acceleration. With the ball in his hands, he pulls away from defenders. On defense, that speed allows Pride to run with receivers and position himself between the receiver and the ball. He boxes out receivers near the sideline and eliminates their chances of making a catch. He changes directions fluidly in coverage with smooth hip movement. Pride has long arms and good hands that he’s utilized both as a receiver and defender. Pride has also shown a natural ability as a returner. He reads the field well and finds opportunities for long returns.

He did what? (:23) By putting himself in a good coverage position, Pride makes an easy interception. That’s when the degree of difficulty amplifies. After he catches the ball, Pride has to immediately spin out of a tackle attempt from the wide receiver. He’s strong enough to shrug him off and starts his return. He organizes his blockers and follows a convoy to the end zone on the opposite side of the field … (:43) Pride’s speed is on display as he takes a wide receiver screen for a touchdown. After splitting two defenders with a cut upfield, Pride breaks away from three more as he accelerates. He creates even more separation between himself and the defenders as he sprints to the end zone … (2:05) Pride changes directions four times before ending up with an interception. He starts his backpedal at the snap and then follows his receiver inside. When he sees the quarterback rolling his way, Pride starts to attack the line of scrimmage. Then Pride drops back into coverage which puts him right in the path of the poorly thrown pass.

Competition level: Greer played against only one team that finished higher in the MaxPreps rankings for South Carolina. The Yellow Jackets, ranked No. 25, split a pair of games against No. 20 Union County. While Greer plays in Class AAA, most of the top teams in the state area in Class AAAA. Pride didn’t play against any of the Top 20 Class of 2016 recruits, according to Rivals, in South Carolina.

Left to prove: Pride will need to add weight to his skinny frame in order to develop into a shutdown cornerback. The athleticism is there, but he can still be exposed by bigger receivers. He’ll need to get more physical at the line of scrimmage to help himself in man coverage. Pride’s technique will need some polishing, but he has the tools to become a solid cornerback. Pride could offer Notre Dame help on special teams as a freshman, but he should have the chance to develop at cornerback before needed on defense.

tjames@ndinsider.com

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Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Future Notre Dame cornerback Troy Pride (18), here intercepting a pass at the All-Star Blue-Grey All-American Bowl on Jan. 16, won four South Carolina state track titles on Saturday. (AP Photo/WILL DICKEY)