Prosise’s mind on mending, not NFL

C.J. Prosise is curious about his NFL Draft feedback after a breakout senior year. He’s also eager to continue that campaign, still sidelined by a high ankle sprain suffered three weeks ago.

C.J. Prosise didn’t practice Friday when Notre Dame got back to work.

It’s been three weeks since the starting Irish running back went down with a high ankle sprain against Boston College, which came just two games after his concussion suffered at Pittsburgh. Combined, the injuries meant Prosise barely practiced during the past month. That trend continued Friday when Notre Dame worked outside to begin Fiesta Bowl prep.

Prosise believes he’s at least a week away from returning.

“Hopefully I’ll be back on the practice field come finals week,” he said. “I’m feeling good. I’m just getting back to healthy right now.”

Prosise logged just 14 carries for 82 yards in November, scoring zero touchdowns and fumbling twice. It’s been a difficult conclusion to a spectacular senior season that began with Prosise on pace to smash Notre Dame’s single-season rushing record. He’ll enter the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State at 1,029 yards and 12 total touchdowns.

It’s unclear if the bowl will be Prosise’s final game with Notre Dame, an unthinkable prospect last summer when he figured to battle Tarean Folston and Greg Bryant for carries. Instead, Folston tore his ACL in the first quarter against Texas and Bryant flunked out before training camp.

“At this point last year it’s 100 percent I’m coming back for my fifth year, now things are different,” Prosise said. “Circumstances change. I’m still thinking about it the same way, I’m still going to focus on doing my job on the field first. Whatever happens after that is whatever happens.”

Prosise is among five Irish players to request a formal evaluation from the NFL’s committee that advises underclassmen on their draft position. Technically, Prosise isn’t an underclassman at all as a senior with a potential fifth-year option. Regardless of what Prosise does relative to the draft, he said he’ll graduate from Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business next spring and is just three classes short of his degree.

“I’ll definitely be getting my degree, which is the most important part coming from Notre Dame,” he said. “At this point I’m not really thinking about (the NFL). Right now it’s just focusing on getting healthy and staying healthy and getting back for this bowl game.”

Prosise said he returned to running last week. He had an air cast on his injured ankle on Friday. Injuries made him a unique pick for Next Man In considering Josh Adams has ably replaced him, rushing for 791 yards and five touchdowns this fall. That includes the Notre Dame freshman record 168 yards that Adams posted on Stanford.

If all goes according to plan, Notre Dame should have both running backs available for the Fiesta Bowl. How the running back depth chart sets up next season, however, remains in question.

“I’m just thankful I got the opportunity to come in and do the things that I did for this team this season,” Prosise said. “I’m just thankful for everything that I’ve been able to accomplish this year and thankful for everything this team has been able to accomplish.

“It’s still difficult, not being able to go out there and play the game that I love. Every day I’m excited to be out there. I’m happy to be a part of this team.”


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