Notre Dame 99-to-0: No. 24 Audric Estime, freshman running back, former Michigan State commit, four-star

Audric Estime
rivals.com
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Listed measurements: 6-foot-1, 215 pounds.
2021-22 year, eligibility: The one class on Notre Dame’s roster with clear eligibility parameters, Estime has four seasons of eligibility remaining.
Depth Chart: The Irish enjoy three proven running backs in junior Kyren Williams, sophomore Chris Tyree and senior C’Bo Flemister, and between the three of them, all aspects of the ground game are well covered. Though Estime arrives seemingly ready to play, that luxury of depth will keep him fourth on the depth chart.
Recruiting: Estime committed to Michigan State three months before December’s early signing period, and that decision seemed firm despite offers from Iowa State, Virginia Tech and Texas A&M. Then Notre Dame offered him a scholarship two days before the signing period commenced, and by the end of the week, the consensus four-star recruit and No. 6 running back in the country, per rivals.com, had changed his mind, joining the Irish.

No. 24? NOW?
Projecting the incoming freshmen’s uniform numbers is an intentionally humbling enterprise, but truth be told, suggesting Estime would wear No. 2 seemed like a chance to bolster soothsaying accuracy. Estime wore the digit in high school, and no one on Notre Dame’s roster currently dons it.

Instead, per an updated profile on the University’s athletics website, Estime will wear No. 24.

NAME, IMAGE, LIKENESS
Let’s skip specific sponsorship opportunities and acknowledge the best way to make money from college football is still to excel on Saturdays. Estime may be listed at 215 pounds, but some reports suggest he is already past 225, and the New Jersey native is clearly ready for the next level.

But in terms of future monetizations of these athletes, perhaps Gatorade will add some prize money to winning its Player of the Year honor in each state, as Estime did in New Jersey in 2020.

WHAT WAS SAID WHEN ESTIME SIGNED
“The term powerback implies a one-dimensional utility. Estime is more a multi-dimensional powerback. In that respect, consider him a stronger version of current junior C’Bo Flemister.

“The late Irish pursuit of Estime is simply an aspect of recruiting. Do not let it color your impressions of his potential. His rushing includes a sense of momentum, the type of one-cut decisiveness that could create early playing time. When Estime lowers his shoulders, multiple tacklers are needed to bring him down, and while his speed is not overwhelming, he has a longer stride than would usually be expected from someone standing only six-foot.

QUOTES
Estime is physically ready for college football, but he arrives at a position not needing immediate help. That works out to the benefit of special teams coordinator Brian Polian.

“I’m excited to get Audric in when he reports in the fall, because to have a running back body that size, I think he can be a four-unit special teams player,” Polian said in mid-April.

2021 OUTLOOK
Classmate Logan Diggs will spend more of this year in development than Estime; the latter simply looks that solid, even if only in photos.

At that point, it is worth considering Notre Dame’s fourth running back in recent seasons. Unlike most rushing stats, these are hardly skewed by the Irish enjoying such a mobile quarterback the last three seasons, because when the offense turned to a running back four lines down the depth chart, it was usually at a point or situation in the game when Ian Book was not putting his body on the line, anyway.

Due to Jafar Armstrong’s struggle getting back to full health in 2020, Notre Dame did not really use a fourth running back last year, but in 2019, Jahmir Smith finished with 42 rush attempts and Flemister had 48, both nominally behind Tony Jones and Armstrong on the depth chart. In 2018, Avery Davis (still a running back in those days), had 22 carries in nine games.

Estime will get some chances as a freshman, particularly since his style bears some resemblance to Smith’s and Flemister’s. What he does with them will be the bigger question, given he is unlikely to match his final high school stat line, averaging nearly 10 yards per carry.

If attempting to make up for that misguided uniform prediction by forecasting Estime’s debut campaign, 30 carries for 170-180 yards and two touchdowns would be a worthwhile baseline.

DOWN THE ROAD
Williams will head to the NFL after this season, and given Tyree is positioned to take over as the lead back in 2022, Flemister will be best served by transferring elsewhere for one final year, one in the primary role.

Suddenly, Estime will have gone from fourth-string perk to 1B on the depth chart. That modest 2021 prognostication will grow two- or threefold by 2022.

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. 91 Joshua Bryan, incoming freshman kicker
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. 83 Jayden Thomas, freshman receiver, four-star prospect out of Georgia
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. 55 Kahanu Kia, freshman linebacker, Hawaiian, LDS member
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. 47 Jason Onye, incoming and raw 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. 35 Marist Liufau, junior Hawaiian linebacker
No. 34 Osita Ekwonu, junior defensive end
No. 33 Shayne Simon, senior linebacker
No. 32 Prince Kollie, freshman linebacker, Butkus Award winner
No. 29 Matt Salerno, senior punt returner, walk-on
No. 29 Khari Gee, freshman safety, former LSU commit
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. 21 Lorenzo Styles, early-enrolled freshman receiver
No. 21 Caleb Offord, sophomore cornerback
No. 20 C’Bo Flemister, senior running back, coming off an offseason with a smirch
No. 20 Justin Walters, early-enrolled freshman safety and likely early special teams contributor
No. 19 Jay Bramblett, junior punter
No. 19 Justin Ademilola, senior defensive end
No. 18 Joe Wilkins Jr., senior receiver, team favorite
No. 18 Nana Osafo-Mensah, junior defensive end, coming back from a knee injury
No. 18 Chance Tucker, freshman cornerback
No. 17 Jack Coan, graduate quarterback, Wisconsin transfer
No. 17 Jordan Botelho, sophomore defensive end, full-speed at all times
No. 16 Deion Colzie, incoming freshman receiver with both speed and leaping height
No. 16 KJ Wallace, junior safety, possible starting nickel back
No. 15 Ryan Barnes, early-enrolled freshman cornerback
No. 14 Kyle Hamilton, junior safety, preseason All-American, top 2022 draft prospect