Notre Dame is already lacking enough healthy receivers. Now running back depth concerns will also trouble the Irish. Notre Dame announced Friday morning that early-enrolled freshman running back Jadarian Price ruptured an Achilles tendon in offseason training and will miss the 2022 season.
Price underwent surgery on Friday.
Without Price, the Irish are down to just three healthy scholarship running backs in junior Chris Tyree, sophomore Audric Estime and freshman Gi’Bran Payne. Sophomore Logan Diggs is recovering from a shoulder injury suffered in the Blue-Gold Game, and the timing of his return is uncertain but likely to extend into the fall.
In modern college football, that is not enough. Not when a turf toe sidelined Tyree for chunks of 2021. Ponder a sprained ankle to Tyree or Estime in mid-September. Suddenly Notre Dame would have only the other and a yet-to-practice freshman to lean on. Late September could include a blowout at North Carolina, but the Irish would have only walk-ons to offer mop-up carries. More likely, Tyree or Estime and Payne would need to salt away the win.
To dig into the loss of Price, let’s differ to the usual summer format of Notre Dame 99-to-0: No. 20 Jadarian Price, sophomore running back now out for the season …
Listed measurements: 5-foot-10, 190 pounds.
2022-23 year, eligibility: An early-enrolled freshman, Price has four seasons of eligbility remaining, a clock that now will not start ticking until the Irish head to Ireland in August of 2023.
Depth Chart: Price’s strong spring may have moved him up as high as No. 2 on the Notre Dame running back depth chart, particularly after Diggs’ injury. Now, precious few backs are available for the Irish.
Recruiting: A consensus four-star recruit and the No. 5 running back in the class, per rivals.com, Price shirked his homestate power, Texas, as well as Ohio State and Stanford when he chose Notre Dame. As he did so, he pointed to one distinct difference between the Irish and two of those programs.
“There’s one thing that really stands out and it’s just the mindset that they’re going to the College Football Playoffs every year,” Price told Irish Illustrated when he committed in February of 2021. “That’s just what they’re all about. That’s their motto. That’s their DNA. They’re going to the Playoffs every year.”
Price so starred in the spring finale that he was one of two players made available to the media after the game. His nine rushes for 12 yards and eight catches for 104 yards and a touchdown had not immediately gone to his head, though.
“I may be a young guy on this team, but I’m willing to do whatever needs to be done,” Price said. “Whatever role I need to play in order for us to win, and that’s what it’s all about.”
It took a week or so of spring practice for Price to realize he was not simply playing Texas high school football anymore. A veteran Notre Dame linebacker made reality clear in the simplest way imaginable.
“The third practice, we went live and just hit,” Price said. “I got my first welcome to college football experience when (senior) Marist (Liufau) hit me in practice. That really prepared me, this is real. I’m going to go out and show what I can do.”
WHAT WAS SAID WHEN PRICE SIGNED IN DECEMBER
“Price brings an ability to accelerate out of a cut and evasive hips to emphasize that cut, along with enough speed to simply run away from a defender. His game will need some maturing and at 175 pounds — at least, that is his listed weight — he will need to add a bit of muscle, but Price has all the tools Notre Dame looks for. …
“With Kyren Williams off to the NFL and C’Bo Flemister likely headed elsewhere as well to find more playing time, Price could suddenly be the fourth Irish running back in 2022. “Fourth” may not seem like a notable spot on the depth chart, but Notre Dame has often used a fourth back to chew up clock in blowouts. Furthermore, current sophomore Chris Tyree may be used more and more on the outside, both to supplement the Irish receivers and to give more opportunity to current freshmen Logan Diggs and Audric Estime. At that point, Price may be Notre Dame’s third genuine running back. …
“Running back depth is crucial in modern college football, and the Irish have slowly built some. Pairing Price with the duo a year ahead of him may tamper some of their stats, but it will best serve all interests.”
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Obviously Price’s 2022 is now going to be spent in a boot. Notre Dame will not rush Diggs back from injury, but his quick return will be paramount to the backfield’s durability.
Turning on the JETS! 🚀
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) April 23, 2022
DOWN THE ROAD
Achilles injuries are among the worst imaginable for athletes dependent on explosive moves, as a running back is. Price’s return may reach into the 2023 summer, but presuming no setbacks, he should at least be healthy enough to practice by that preseason.
Only then will it be clear if his Blue-Gold Game star turn will be a one-off or if this injury is just a bump in his road.
NOTRE DAME 99-TO-0
From Blake Grupe to Braden Lenzy, the offseason countdown begins anew
No. 99 Blake Grupe, kicker, Arkansas State transfer
No. 99 Rylie Mills, junior defensive lineman, a tackle now playing more at end
No. 98 Tyson Ford, early-enrolled freshman, a defensive tackle recruited as a four-star end
No. 97 Gabriel Rubio, sophomore defensive tackle, still ‘as wide as a Volkswagen’
No. 92 Aidan Keanaaina, a junior defensive tackle who tore his ACL in March
No. 91 Josh Bryan, sophomore kicker
No. 91 Aiden Gobaira, early-enrolled freshman defensive end, four-star recruit
No. 90 Alexander Ehrensberger, junior defensive end, a German project nearing completion
No. 88 Mitchell Evans, sophomore tight end
No. 87 Michael Mayer, junior tight end, likely All-American
No. 85 Holden Staes, incoming freshman tight end
No. 84 Kevin Bauman, junior tight end
No. 83 Jayden Thomas, sophomore receiver, former four-star recruit
No. 80 Cane Berrong, sophomore tight end coming off an ACL injury
No. 79 Tosh Baker, one of four young Irish offensive tackles
No. 78 Pat Coogan, sophomore center, recovering from a meniscus injury
No. 77 Ty Chan, incoming offensive tackle, former four-star recruit
No. 76 Joe Alt, sophomore starting left tackle
No. 75 Josh Lugg, sixth-year offensive lineman, likely starting right guard
No. 74 Billy Schrauth, early-enrolled freshman offensive guard coming off foot surgery
No. 73 Andrew Kristofic, senior offensive tackle-turned-guard
No. 72 Caleb Johnson, sophomore offensive tackle, former Auburn pledge
No. 68 Michael Carmody, junior offensive line utility man
No. 65 Michael Vinson, long snapper, ‘Milk’
No. 65 Chris Smith, defensive tackle, Harvard transfer
No. 59 Aamil Wagner, consensus four-star incoming freshman offensive tackle
No. 58 Ashton Craig, incoming freshman center
No. 57 Jayson Ademilola, fifth-year defensive tackle, coming off shoulder surgery
No. 56 Joey Tanona, early-enrolled offensive guard coming off a concussion
No. 56 Howard Cross, senior defensive tackle with heavy hands, and that’s a good thing
No. 55 Jarrett Patterson, fifth-year offensive lineman, three-year starting center, captain
No. 54 Jacob Lacey, senior defensive tackle, now lighter and a starter
No. 54 Blake Fisher, sophomore starting right tackle, ‘ginormous’
No. 52 Zeke Correll, senior center or perhaps left guard
No. 52 Bo Bauer, fifth-year linebacker, Ironman
No. 50 Rocco Spindler, sophomore offensive guard
No. 48 Will Schweitzer, sophomore end-turned-linebacker
No. 47 Jason Oyne, sophomore defensive end-turned-tackle
No. 44 Junior Tuihalamaka, early-enrolled freshman linebacker, consensus four-star recruit
No. 41 Donovan Hinish, incoming freshman defensive tackle, Kurt’s brother
No. 9 Eli Raridon, incoming freshman tight end with a torn ACL