Notre Dame 99-to-0: No. 20 C’Bo Flemister, senior running back

C'Bo Flemister
ACC Media
4 Comments

Listed measurements: 5-foot-11 ¼, 201 pounds.
2021-22 year, eligibility: A senior, Flemister still has three seasons of eligibility remaining thanks to appearing in only two games as a freshman and then the universal pandemic eligibility waiver adding a season to his clock.
Depth Chart: Notre Dame will feature its running backs this season, which means even the third among them should get plenty of work. Flemister will provide the depth behind junior Kyren Williams and sophomore Chris Tyree, but in a more substantial way than “depth” usually indicates.
Recruiting: Flemister (along with Williams, to an extent) is the embodiment of past Irish struggles recruiting running backs but making up for those struggles with excellent evaluations. Flemister was committed to Georgia Southern and then Georgia Tech before Notre Dame flipped him. It could be argued the Irish sought the consensus three-star prospect only because they dismissed two running backs from the roster following the 2017 season (Deon McIntosh and CJ Holmes). Suddenly depth was desperately needed, leading to Flemister’s Signing Day commitment after a late January visit to South Bend.

NAME, IMAGE, LIKENESS
Notre Dame’s offensive line has signed two NIL deals as a collective, bringing in all the barbeque and pizza the massive front can eat, but at some point someone should offer the Irish running backs their own group deal, right? They should certainly earn enough notice in 2021.

CAREER TO DATE
Flemister’s freshman season was hardly worth mentioning, but then as a sophomore he provided physical carries as a reserve, seemingly establishing himself in Notre Dame’s backfield pecking order. Development can be fickle, though, and Williams’ took off following 2019, leapfrogging Flemister and keeping the upperclassman in a reserve role.

Flemister put that role to good use, though, salting away a few wins for the Irish, moments that were not quite competitive but also not yet mop-up duty, moments that Notre Dame gladly spared Williams and Tyree blows, vital as the season moved along.

2018: 2 games; 1 carry, no yards.
2019: 10 games; 48 carries for 162 yards (4.8 yards per rush) and five touchdowns with one catch for 13 yards.
2020: 9 games; 58 carries for 299 yards (6.4 yards per rush) and five touchdowns with two catches for 36 yards.

OFF THE FIELD
Flemister’s growth into an underappreciated piece of the Irish offense was put in jeopardy late in April after he crashed his BMW. Flemister was charged with leaving the scene of an accident, a misdemeanor, but the University does not appear set to further discipline Flemister.

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly told the South Bend Tribune the incident sounds far worse than it was.

“This is one of those situations that could have been avoided,” Kelly said. “He had a vehicle that was illegally parked and moved a barrier to put his car in a position so he didn’t have to walk so far.

“This is not being very smart. So he’s going to be accountable for what that situation is.”

Kelly’s description of the situation may sound glossy, but he would not have offered as much detail if he was not certain in its accuracy. Expect Flemister to not miss any time due to this misstep.

2021 OUTLOOK
Flemister will not move past Williams or Tyree, barring injury, in 2021, but he should be able to supplement them. By no means is Flemister strictly a one-dimensional running back, but his calling card is a physical running style, whereas those two expect to be used as receivers plenty this season.

That should set up Flemister to join one of the top-two backs in multi-back sets throughout the year. While the other motions out to the slot or runs a route from the backfield, Flemister will serve as a threat of a punishing run to the defense. Of his 299 rushing yards last season, 223 of them came after contact, per Pro Football Focus.

That is a higher ratio than Williams’ or Tyree’s, not because of an inability to avoid contact, but because by the time Flemister was grinding down games, opponents could sell out to stop the run. They just couldn’t stop Flemister.

He may not run for much more than 350 yards this year, but they will be 350 hard-gained yards and ones that keep Williams and Tyree that much fresher in the long season.

DOWN THE ROAD
With consensus four-star Audric Estime receiving praise before a single practice, Flemister may face a reality of never moving above third in Notre Dame’s depth chart.

Williams should head to the NFL after this season, but then Estime and Tyree can form a potent duo in 2022, and at some point, Flemister needs to look for more than chewing through second halves.

A graduate transfer to a primary role seems likely after this season, a luxury Flemister will have very much earned. One should think his destination will be, at worst, a high-level Group of Five program, simply given what Flemister has already proven with a Playoff contender.

NOTRE DAME 99-TO-0
Let’s try this again
No. 99 Rylie Mills, sophomore defensive tackle
No. 98 Alexander Ehrensberger, sophomore defensive end
No. 97 Gabriel Rubio, early-enrolled freshman defensive tackle the size of a Volkswagen
No. 95 Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, fifth-year defensive tackle-turned-end
No. 92 Aidan Keanaaina, sophomore defensive tackle
No. 88 Mitchell Evans, early-enrolled freshman tight end, a former high school quarterback
No. 87 Michael Mayer, star sophomore tight end and lead offensive weapon
No. 85 George Takacs, senior tight end, ‘152 years old’
No. 84 Kevin Bauman, sophomore tight end
No. 82 Xavier Watts, sophomore receiver
No. 81 Jay Brunelle, speedy sophomore receiver
No. 80 Cane Berrong, early-enrolled freshman tight end
No. 79 Tosh Baker, sophomore offensive tackle
No. 78 Pat Coogan, incoming freshman center
No. 77 Quinn Carroll, junior offensive lineman
No. 76 Joe Alt, incoming and towering freshman offensive lineman
No. 75 Josh Lugg, fifth-year right tackle, finally a starter
No. 73 Andrew Kristofic, junior offensive tackle, possible backup center
No. 72 Caleb Johnson, early-enrolled offensive tackle, former Auburn commit
No. 70 Hunter Spears, junior offensive guard, former defensive tackle
No. 68 Michael Carmody, sophomore offensive tackle
No. 62 Marshall guard Cain Madden transfers to Notre Dame, likely 2021 starter
No. 57 Jayson Ademilola, senior defensive tackle
No. 56 John Dirksen, senior reserve offensive lineman
No. 56 Howard Cross, junior defensive tackle
No. 55 Jarrett Patterson, the best Irish offensive lineman
No. 54 Jacob Lacey, junior defensive tackle
No. 54 Blake Fisher, early-enrolled freshman left tackle, starter?
No. 52 Zeke Correll, junior, starting center
No. 52 Bo Bauer, senior linebacker, #BeADog
No. 50 Rocco Spindler, early-enrolled freshman offensive guard
No. 48 Will Schweitzer, early-enrolled freshman defensive end
No. 44 Devin Aupiu, early-enrolled freshman defensive end
No. 44 Alex Peitsch and No. 65 Michael Vinson, Irish long snappers, both needed
No. 41 Kurt Hinish, fifth-year defensive tackle, eventual record-holder in games played
No. 40 Drew White, fifth-year linebacker, three-year starter
No. 39 Jonathan Doerer, fifth-year kicker, using the pandemic exception
No. 38 Jason Onye, incoming and raw freshman defensive end
No. 37 Joshua Bryan, incoming freshman kicker
No. 35 Marist Liufau, junior Hawaiian linebacker
No. 34 Osita Ekwonu, junior defensive end
No. 33 Shayne Simon, senior linebacker
No. 29 Matt Salerno, senior punt returner, walk-on
No. 28 TaRiq Bracy, senior cornerback, possible nickel back
No. 27 JD Bertrand, junior linebacker
No. 26 Clarence Lewis, sophomore cornerback, second-year starter
No. 25 Philip Riley, early-enrolled freshman cornerback
No. 25 Chris Tyree, speedy sophomore running back
No. 24 Jack Kiser, junior linebacker, onetime pandemic hero
No. 23 Litchfield Ajavon, junior safety
No. 23 Kyren Williams, junior running back
No. 22 Logan Diggs, incoming freshman running back
No. 22 Chance Tucker, freshman cornerback
No. 21 Lorenzo Styles, early-enrolled freshman receiver
No. 21 Caleb Offord, sophomore cornerback