Four-star RB Chris Tyree's decision could come down to next week

Carter Karels
South Bend Tribune

Chris Tyree could decide his fate next week with the help of a questionnaire.

Notre Dame’s top 2020 running back target intends to formally weigh his options Wednesday. His top three schools — ND, Oklahoma and Alabama — will be ranked on a bevy of topics. The trio will be rated on a point scale for each question.

Kevin Tucker, Tyree’s head coach at Thomas Dale in Chester, Va., will help Tyree and his parents by creating the categories for the assessment. It’s a common practice among Tucker and his players.

“Let’s say Oklahoma comes out 19 to Notre Dame’s 12,” Tucker said, “then of course that tells you that Oklahoma is the place for him.”

Tucker confirmed Tyree, a four-star recruit, leans toward OU at the moment. Tyree and his parents attended OU’s April 12 spring game. The 5-foot-9, 171-pounder left his official visit last weekend favoring the Sooners.

But Tucker has seen this before. He encouraged Tyree to give it time. That way, his decision would not have been emotional.

“My experience is that whenever a kid comes off a visit, they are going to have the last place they visited as their favorite,” Tucker said. “After a week or so and that nuance has worn off, then you can decide and judge whether it’s still the best place for you.

“I don’t put a whole lot of stock in that right now.”

OU’s status certainly didn’t deter Irish running backs coach Lance Taylor. He took his first visit of the evaluation period, which began this week, to Thomas Dale for Tyree.

Taylor left Tuesday’s trip in a better place with Tyree, who assured he remained open to his ND official visit scheduled for June 21-23.

“I like coach Taylor’s approach,” Tucker said. “He’s going to recruit Chris until the end. If Chris decides he wants to go to OU, Alabama or Notre Dame, he’s going to wish him luck wherever he goes. Be a good fan.

“That’s a great method to use, and it’s kind of refreshing to be honest with you. A coach taking that approach and not trying to pressure a kid to make a decision.”

Tyree might also take an official visit to Alabama in early June. Though, that could depend on Wednesday’s examination.

“It might come out to where it’s too big of a gap between the schools,” Tucker said. “Then he might decide to make a commitment. I don’t know.”

The Irish are looking to add a speed back and power back for its 2020 class. Tyree fits the mold of the former, ranking as 247Sports’ No. 1 all-purpose back and No. 49 overall player. Rivals slates Tyree as its No. 1 all-purpose back and No. 60 overall player.

A few options could become a priority for Notre Dame if Tyree committed elsewhere. JuTahn McClain (5-9, 180) is one of ND’s other speed back targets. Offensive coordinator Chip Long visited McClain’s Fairfield (Ohio) High on Wednesday. McClain trekked to Notre Dame for its Feb. 23 junior day. Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha’s Marshawn Lloyd (5-9, 206) likes the Irish but has not visited.

Tom Lemming, a recruiting analyst for CBS Sports Network, told the Tribune that McClain looks like the Midwest’s best 2020 running back.

“He’s kind of a slotback,” Lemming said, “not a guy that’s going to take a pounding.”

The following are bigger, power backs who visited the Irish this spring: Middle Village (N.Y.) Christ the King Regional’s Tirek Murphy (6-0, 220), Destrehan (La.) High’s Kyle Edwards (6-0, 210) and Akron (Ohio) Archbishop Hoban’s DeaMonte Trayanum (5-11, 210). Long visited Trayanum’s school on Wednesday.

Tyree might be more valuable than any of them. His 4.38 40-yard dash would bring much-needed speed to the Irish backfield. Tyree turned that speed into 1,446 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on 177 carries last season.

“It’s pretty much that I’m that missing piece in their offense,” Tyree said in February on ND’s pitch to him. “We talked about how they needed that home run hitter and a guy with a lot of speed in that backfield. That’s pretty much their pitch for me.”

So the Irish plan to wait patiently — even if their fate might depend on a questionnaire.

“It will have stuff on there based off academics, athletics, offense, defense, what their degree field is going to be, what the student ratio to class will be,” Tucker said. “It’s what a typical college student should be looking for.

“It kind of takes the football part out of it. It makes it more of a college decision versus a football decision.”

Chester (Va.) Thomas Dale’s Chris Tyree, a 2020 running back, committed to Notre Dame on May 23, 2019.