In Need of Safety Depth, Notre Dame Hosting Ohio State Transfer

Notre Dame has a monster recruiting weekend on tap for the class of 2021 this weekend when USC visits for their biannual trip to Notre Dame Stadium.  The Irish added another visitor to their list yesterday in the form of Ohio State transfer Isaiah Pryor. The former top 100 recruit entered the transfer protocol after the fourth game of the season.

Pryor started seven games during his Ohio State career while collecting 31 tackles with five pass breakups and an interception, but hadn’t quite yet lived up to his recruiting pedigree as a top 100 prospect.  At Ohio State, where they are loaded with top 100 players, the window of opportunity to show your potential is narrower than most.

Pryor will graduate in December and have two years of eligibility remaining wherever he ultimately transfers.

The timing of Notre Dame hosting Pryor is a bit interesting considering we just learned on Sunday that Houston Griffith had been moved to safety for the Irish in a move that sounds permanent even if Brian Kelly wouldn’t commit to it.  The thought by many was that Griffith moving to safety opened up a starting opportunity for him in 2020 alongside Kyle Hamilton with the two replacing Alohi Gilman and Jalen Elliott.

Should Notre Dame add Pryor to its roster, perhaps the move of Griffith is temporary, and he moves back to the boundary to challenge for the starting role there in 2020 with Troy Pride Jr graduating.  If safety is Griffith’s long term future – as many think it should be – it might impact Notre Dame’s chances with Pryor.

Regardless, Notre Dame needs depth at safety in 2020 and beyond.  As it stands right now, the only safeties on the roster likely to return in 2020 (assuming Gilman leaves for the NFL) are Griffith, Hamilton, DJ Brown, and freshman Ajavon Litchfield.  Paul Moala moved to ROVER, where he appears to have found a home and one time top recruit Derrik Allen transferred this summer.

All of that roster attrition has left Notre Dame thin at the position moving forward.  Adding a safety with a pedigree like Pryor’s would be a welcomed addition.  Pryor will have to earn a starting job wherever he transfers, but the question will be whether or not going head to head with another former top 100 recruit for that starting role will cause him to look elsewhere.

Notre Dame has not had the best of luck with transfers in recent years.  Cody Riggs showed promise in the Irish secondary a few years ago, but injuries ultimately derailed his opportunity at Notre Dame.  Cameron Smith and Freddy Canteen never made their mark as transfer wide receivers for the Irish in 2017 either.

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If Notre Dame is not able to land Pryor, look for the Irish to make another internal move at some point either this season or the off-season to fill out the depth chart at safety.  The recruiting class of 2020 has several defensive backs who have position flexibility, but in an ideal world, Notre Dame will not have to rely on any true freshmen in the two-deep next year unless one stands out ala Kyle Hamilton this year.

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