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Freshman Focus: Tarean Folston

Jul 1, 2013, 11:49 AM EDT

Tarean Folston

If Greg Bryant is the leading man of this offensive recruiting class, then Tarean Folston is the brooding character actor in the corner with breakout potential. There’s little doubt that most expect one of the freshman running backs now in summer school to compete for early playing time. But don’t be surprised if it’s the guy that wasn’t the five-star recruit.

Folston was an early target of the Irish and made the coaching staff sweat his commitment when his faxed letter-of-intent arrived a few hours later than expected. But now that he’s on campus, Folston is expected to be one of the home run hitters of this recruiting class, a powerful runner from the deep I formation that also has breakaway speed.

A jack-of-all-trades for his high school team, Folston has the ability to compete on special teams immediately as well.


Folston had more than his share of elite offers, with Florida and Florida State both chasing him from in-state schools and an official visit t0 Oregon all but validating his speed and elusiveness.

Looking for another data-point that vouches for Folston’s athleticism and versatility? At the Under Armor All-American Bowl, Folston was asked to play in the secondary because a team was thin. Playing cornerback for the first time that season, he had an interception.

A consensus Top 150 player, Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn made a late run at Folston, but in the end the 5-foot-10, 190-pounder stayed strong with his early January commitment to the Irish.


Just as we wrote in Bryant’s profile, there are carries to win in the backfield. And while Bryant looks the part already physically, Folston has the type of home-run hitting ability that’ll work in his favor to get the carries.

As we’ve seen the past few seasons, Brian Kelly seems to enjoy platooning his backs and utilizing their skills almost a la carte. While Folston did most of his damage out of the I formation, he’s got solid hands and works well in open space. With the Z receiver position still up in the air, finding a way onto the field could consist of shifting inside and outside.

Add in the renewed commitment to getting something out of the return game, and there are a variety of ways Folston could earn his way onto the field.


There’s a reason why many said that Folston was the Irish’s top back on their recruiting board for much of the last cycle. He’s a guy that this staff believes can be a difference maker at this level, as both a runner, receiver and returner.

That said, Folston might end up playing a specialty role depending on his ability to handle the wear and tear of 20-carries a game. Looking back at the last three seasons, Kelly hasn’t had any of his backs carry that type of load, so there’s every reason to believe that Folston will find his niche in this offense sooner than later.

Looking for a dream scenario for the Irish backfield? Check out the dynamic duo of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall at Georgia. Both backs made a huge impact for Mark Richt’s squad, each averaging over six-plus yards a carry. That would make Irish fans — and Folston and Bryant — mighty happy.

  1. NotreDan - Jul 1, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    Just so long as dingleberry ain’t first.

  2. NotreDan - Jul 1, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    Is is August 31 yet?

    I hope CBK is willing to let these young guys have a go early. I think our running game will surprise people this year the way our defense surprised people last year.

    I remember thinking 3/4 of the way through last season I couldn’t have imagined where we were before the season started. I have feeling in my Irish bones that this year will bring similar moments of joy.


  3. nudeman - Jul 1, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    Some great story lines this year:

    Zaire: Does he play or does he sit? I hope he plays and think he will.
    GAIII: Can he become a true #1 RB? IMO, doubtful, though I think he’ll have a couple great moments.
    Bryant & Folston: Will either break through? Most seem to think Bryant is ready to play right now
    Hendrix: Another year spent on the pine? Or does he get a shot? Barring injury to Rees and Zaire, I say he sits.
    Frosh: Who makes an impact? Redfield? Jaylon Smith? Corey Robinson?
    Punt returns: Can ND finish higher than 115th in the NCAA this year? God, I hope so.
    Cam McDaniel: Nothing like a white RB to become everybody’s favorite matinee idol. Does he actually get regular work in the backfield? I’ll go with “semi-regular”; maybe 50-60 carries this year and a handful of receptions.

    • yogihilt - Jul 1, 2013 at 2:59 PM

      Seriously, Nude! Why go there?

      • ibleedirish - Jul 1, 2013 at 3:14 PM

        Why not? Your discomfort level doesn’t make it any less valid. Name the last big time, white, college running back.

      • andy44teg - Jul 1, 2013 at 3:58 PM

        Lol…Tebow!…oh wait…

      • andy44teg - Jul 1, 2013 at 4:00 PM

        Toby Gerhart (sp?)…then….John Riggins??

      • nudeman - Jul 1, 2013 at 4:02 PM

        Oh … sorry. Did not realize that today is Politically Correct Tuesday.

        Jesus, let it go.

        No one’s been insulted and I’ve just pointed out what we all know to be the case – not a lot of white guys playing RB or CB in college football these days. Then again, maybe you can name one other than Cam??

      • 808raiderinparadise - Jul 1, 2013 at 5:53 PM

        The last big time white college RB?

        Toby Gerhardt – Standford

      • 808raiderinparadise - Jul 1, 2013 at 5:58 PM

        Luke Staley 2001 – BYU

        He was baller

      • ibleedirish - Jul 2, 2013 at 9:38 AM

        808: So, spread over hundreds of college teams, and thousands of RBs over a 12 year span, you come up with two examples? C’mon man. I rest my case.

      • 1historian - Jul 2, 2013 at 3:30 PM

        George Gipp

    • bearcatirishfan - Jul 1, 2013 at 3:10 PM

      Why is it that when I read white running back and matinee all I can think of is the movie Brian’s song?

      • jerseyshorendfan1 - Jul 1, 2013 at 4:07 PM

        Me, crying? No, I just have something in my eye.

    • jrct2450yahoo - Jul 1, 2013 at 9:24 PM

      I feel the same way about black qb’s. (Now let the thumbs down begin)

  4. 11thstreetmafia - Jul 1, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    Never thought about it, really. Before Cam, who was the last white Irish halfback, not fullback, to score a TD? Mark Eilers? Who am I missing?

    • 4horsemenrideagain - Jul 1, 2013 at 4:26 PM

      I’m pretty sure it was Eilers in the Miami game. Vince Vaughn didn’t score any touchdowns as a halfback, but he did throw a heck of a halfback pass in “Rudy.”

      • mtflsmitty - Jul 1, 2013 at 4:38 PM

        No, shit!? Never knew that was VV! Always thought Swingers was a hell of a debut. Explains the John Favreau connection.

      • bearcatirishfan - Jul 1, 2013 at 5:16 PM

        “It’s the last practice of the season and this a** hole is acting like its the Super Bowl”

      • jerseyshorendfan1 - Jul 1, 2013 at 7:58 PM

        Smitty you are so effin money.

      • mtflsmitty - Jul 2, 2013 at 12:25 AM

        “And I don’t even know it.”

  5. mtflsmitty - Jul 1, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    Good to see you back here, Nude. Folks were putting an APB out for you and Bern a few weeks back. Some figured you just had to get your head right after the news of Gholston’s departure. Good to hear from you.

    Most are interesting story lines to watch. I’m interested to see what Prosise does this year as he switches to offense. I love his size and speed. I think he could be huge.

    The only thing I know about McDaniel is that he’s an underdog sort of guy. But I must admit, the only reason I see him that way, is because he’s a white RB. I don’t know anything else about him. Don’t know if he works harder than the other guys, don’t know if he’s overcome anything more than the other guys, and don’t know if he deserves any more playing time that any of the other non-starters. While I kinda like underdogs, I only do if the underdog in question has overcome limitations/setbacks through tenacity and hard work. I don’t know any of that about Cam.

    I cannot wait for fall camp, and the season to start. It’s almost here.

    • nudeman - Jul 1, 2013 at 4:46 PM

      I think Cam is a seriously hard worker who the coaches love. They’ve made comments to that effect over the last couple years. Oh wait … did I just insult all Caucasians by implying that they are less talented than blacks? Sorry yogi. Won’t happen again.

      I forgot about Prosise. The coaches seem to love this guy and he caught a long TD from Zaire in the BG game. He could be an excellent breakout candidate.

      Not that ND needs any help at WR or anything …

      • rayguy14 - Jul 1, 2013 at 8:58 PM

        Less talented but harder working…yeah, that’s pretty much what I come away with Nude. Hey, I understand, just sticking to the stereotypes. I feel a Paula Deen moment around the corner.

    • padomer6675 - Jul 1, 2013 at 10:38 PM

      When did William Gholston transfer from MichSt to ND? Or is he already in the pros (don’t follow them so not sure)?

      • mtflsmitty - Jul 2, 2013 at 12:30 AM

        Only sport that can touch college football for pure enjoyment is the sport of murdering the spelling of EG’s name.

  6. padomer6675 - Jul 1, 2013 at 10:41 PM

    Just messin’ w ur spelling. I think Cam will surprise many this year. Or should I say hope he surprises.

  7. notredameirish1980 - Jul 2, 2013 at 8:44 AM

    Rex Berkhead and Cam may be clones.

  8. mediocrebob - Jul 2, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    Why is this an issue or discussion?

  9. gtizzo - Jul 2, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    I’m a big believer in taking what Theo Riddick was at ND and turning into a position. A player that can take the hand off or be put in motion into the slot, obviously it would depend on the defense. Don’t worry so much about speed backs just look for the well rounded type guys.

  10. danirish - Jul 2, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    Call me crazy but: Why not?
    I went to UGA and still have a lot of connections there – they lost a few rb’s to certain situations and they started TWO freshmen – one was a recruit ND sought – Marshall. HOw did that turn out for UGA?
    Start Zaire, Folston, & Bryant – start them – day 1

    Other successful teams seem to throw their “kids” out onto the field and good things happen, we started a few kids on defense and the D did “ok.”

    Start them, coach them, let them play and let them win.

  11. fnc111 - Jul 2, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    The hype machine of recruiting is incredible. Both Folston and Bryant were going to be second stringers in the south and that’s why they’re at ND. Who knows what the freshmen will do? Most recruits flop. Chill with the Georgia comparisons and just watch the games.

    • danirish - Jul 2, 2013 at 10:51 PM

      Almost everything you just typed is bunk. How the heck do you know they were going to be second string? Most recruits DON’T flop.

      And for you, Mr. “Oh we gonna suck and CBK is a jerk and oh woe as me I know everything” is telling folks to chill out and watch the games?

      You go first.

  12. padomer - Jul 2, 2013 at 9:52 PM

    Ifffff, lets say through injuries, Cam became our only option at RB it really wouldn’t be a problem. Ifff that were the case, I would not view the RB position as our biggest question mark. He always hits the right hole, makes shifty cuts and a master at finding that hidden yardage.

    • papadec - Jul 2, 2013 at 10:15 PM

      Didn’t Cam average over 5 yds/carry (6.2 comes to mind – but I could be wrong) in the 2012 season?

  13. shaunodame - Jul 4, 2013 at 6:11 PM

    SUPER excited to play with ND’s team this year in NCAA ’14. Our underclassmen are about as deep, across the board, as I can ever remember them being.

    The Safety & RB positions are probably so deep some younger players are unlikely to make the game. God I’m Excited for July 9th!

  14. rpbags - Jul 5, 2013 at 9:05 PM

    Can not tell you how excited i am to see all these kids hit the field and let it all loose. Would like to see ND go to more of a screen game to help TR out but i think that the offense could suprise people and we know that D should be as good or better than last year. Monster o-line, great backs, great talent coming in and i think the future is bright for the University of Notre Dame!!!!

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