Notre Dame 99-to-0: No. 10 Isaiah Pryor, graduate linebacker, 2020 Ohio State transfer

Isaiah Pryor
Notre Dame Athletics

Listed measurements: 6-foot-1 ½, 204 pounds.
2021-22 year, eligibility: When Pryor arrived at Notre Dame in the spring of 2020, he had two seasons of eligibility remaining and was immediately available as a graduate transfer. Given the universal pandemic eligibility waiver, he still has two years to play on the ledger.
Depth Chart: With senior Paul Moala recovering from a torn Achilles, albeit ahead of any expected recovery schedule, Pryor may crack the two-deep behind junior Jack Kiser at Rover unless freshman Prince Kollie wows from the outset of preseason practices.
Recruiting: As the No. 106 overall prospect and No. 12 safety in the class of 2017, Pryor headed to Ohio State while holding offers from Auburn, Clemson and Georgia, not to mention LSU, Michigan and … Notre Dame.

After three seasons with the Buckeyes, playing in two of them, Pryor graduated and finally took up the Irish on that scholarship offer, enrolling in the spring of 2020 before all students were sent home due to the pandemic.

NAME, IMAGE, LIKENESS
Step on up, Mickey Mouse.

CAREER TO DATE
Pryor played for Ohio State right away, usually a sign of a promising career beginning. But when he was passed over in the depth chart ahead of his junior year, Pryor opted to sit out the season to be sure he had two years of eligibility remaining after he graduated at the end of the semester.

In November that year, as the Buckeyes headed toward the College Football Playoff, Pryor announced he would head to South Bend. In 2020, his impact was felt largely, if not even only, on special teams.

2017 at Ohio State: 7 games; 11 tackles with one sack and two passes defended.
2018 at Ohio State: 10 games; 31 tackles with one for loss and an interception, plus six passes defended.

2020 at Notre Dame: 12 games; 8 tackles with one sack and one forced fumble.

QUOTES
A safety at Ohio State, Pryor moved up to Rover almost as soon as he joined the Irish, or at least as soon as he was able to partake in a few practices after the pandemic cut short Notre Dame’s 2020 spring after one day.

To him, playing closer to the ball is reminiscent of his preps career.

“Moving to Rover has been a great experience for me,” Pryor said in October. “I played a decent amount of it in high school, actually, so it was something I felt comfortable doing, going in there, playing more of a hybrid position, covering, blitzing, doing that type of thing. Also helping out the team any way that I can.

“When they asked me to make the move, it was no hesitation. Whatever they needed for me to do, I would do it.”

2021 OUTLOOK
When Pryor committed to the Irish, he was seen as a solve to an impending safety problem. Notre Dame would lose two starters after the 2019 season, but importing someone who played as a freshman at Ohio State should raise the talent level along the back line.

But Pryor never played at safety in South Bend, and in 2020, he did not play much at linebacker, either. Most notably, of his defensive appearances, none of them came in the three biggest games of the season.

Kiser’s rise and Moala’s return make it hard to envision much defensive work for Pryor in 2021, either. They have both shown a knack for making the kind of dynamic plays that are vital to a Rover’s success.

But Pryor has shown his own knack elsewhere. He may have been the best Irish special teams player last year, and even more will be expected of him this season. Pryor could end up with close to 20 tackles simply because he will make at least 10-12 on coverage units alone.

DOWN THE ROAD
Pryor was always expected to be at Notre Dame through 2021, but the added year thanks to the universal pandemic eligibility waiver complicates his future. The Irish are unlikely to spend a scholarship on a reserve linebacker, one who could be third-string once Moala is back to 100 percent, yet Pryor is not assured immediate eligibility if he transfers elsewhere because that applies only on your first transfer, even retroactively to players who transferred before the new rule this spring.

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. 24 Audric Estime, freshman running back, former Michigan State commit, four-star
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. 20 JoJo Johnson, freshman cornerback, former Cincinnati commit
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
No. 13 Paul Moala, senior linebacker coming off an Achilles injury
No. 13 Lawrence Keys, senior receiver
No. 12 Tyler Buchner, early-enrolled freshman quarterback, former four-star recruit
No. 12 DJ Brown, senior safety mired in a starting competition
No. 11 Ron Powlus III, early-enrolled freshman quarterback
No. 11 Ramon Henderson, sophomore cornerback with sprinter’s speed
No. 10 Drew Pyne, sophomore quarterback, likely No. 2

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