Notre Dame could be gifted with an early Christmas present today when three-star cornerback Troy Pride Jr. of Greer, S.C., announces his commitment at 4 p.m. eastern.
“I’m going to announce among all of my offers because I don’t want to snub anybody that’s been recruiting me,” Pride said. “It’s been a long but good process and I’m ready. I’ve done my homework.”
The Irish offered Pride, a former Virginia Tech commitment, back in June.
Autry Denson made an immediate impression.
“He began by thanking me, which was odd but it really showed the character and separation of Notre Dame from other schools,” Pride said at the time. “Picking up an offer from Notre Dame is amazing and another one of God's blessings. It's motivation to continue to grind harder than ever and go be the greatest."
Notre Dame continued to recruit Pride during the summer and into the fall. The consistent communication paid off when Pride, his parents and three siblings made the 10-hour drive to Notre Dame to see the Irish take on USC in October. It was his first official visit.
Less than a month later, and on the heels of legendary head coach Frank Beamer’s retirement announcement, Pride de-committed from Virginia Tech and told Irish Illustrated that Notre Dame was his leader.
In December, new suitors entered the picture with offers, including in-state programs Clemson and South Carolina, while other programs, like N.C. State, North Carolina and Tennessee increased their level of interest. Pride took unofficial visits to Chapel Hill and Rocky Top, with an official visit to Raleigh. None of that could dethrone Notre Dame from holding the No. 1 spot.
Pride considered taking more visits in January, but opted against it in favor of announcing his commitment Twitter on Christmas Eve.
“I’ve pretty much made up my mind, now it’s just settling in that I’ve made my decision,” he said.
A source told Irish Illustrated this week that Notre Dame is the heavy favorite.
Pride’s mother, Angie Pride, told Irish Illustrated last week that Denson and defensive backs coach Todd Lyght have been crucial pieces in the recruitment of her son. Both visited the Pride family during the contact period this month.
Scout’s Michael Clark, who covers recruiting in the Carolinas, wasn’t surprised by the late interest expressed by schools in the 5-foot-11, 166-pound athlete. Clemson offered earlier this month.
“Pride is a long, athletic cornerback that can cover both outside and slot receivers. He gets in and out of his backpedal smoothly and has fluid hips. Pride reads the quarterback's eyes well and breaks quickly on the football. He also does a nice job of attacking the ball at its highest point and has good hands. In run support, Pride is physical and tackles well. He needs to get stronger and add weight to his frame, but Pride has a big upside and his future is extremely bright.”
If Pride Jr. chooses Notre Dame, he’ll be Notre Dame’s seventh defensive back in the Class of 2016, joining Jalen Elliott, Julian Love, D.J. Morgan, Spencer Perry, Devin Studstill and Donte Vaughn.
Notre Dame could still add one more player in the secondary. Four-star cornerbacks Damar Hamlin and Jordan Fuller both consider the Irish among their favorites.