The former #1 all-purpose back and #70 player nationally on 247 Sports, Chris Tyree, is now at the top of the depth chart in South Bend. After an outstanding freshman season in 2020, the Irish tailback was hampered by a turf toe injury last year. Now is the time for Tyree to become the running back fans have been waiting to see. Notre Dame returns one of the best offensive lines in the country, and Chris Tyree will have many opportunities.
- Position: Running Back
- Grade: Junior
- Hometown: Chester, Virginia
- High School: Thomas Dale
- Height/ Weight: 5’ 10”, 197 lbs
- 2020 Rushing: 73 attempts for 496 yards (6.8 yards per carry), 4 TDs, longest run of 94-yards
- 2020 Receiving: 8 receptions for 65 yards (8.1 yards per catch), longest reception was 27-yards
- 2021 Rushing: 56 attempts for 222 yards (4 yards per carry), 1 TD, longest run of 33-yards
- 2021 Receiving: 24 receptions for 258 yards (11 yards per catch), 2 TDs, longest reception was 55-yards
Most notably, Tyree had a kickoff return for 96-yards against the Wisconsin Badgers. The return sparked a massive turnaround for the Fighting Irish.
Chris Tyree is vital for Notre Dame’s success
Now that Kyren Williams is in the NFL, Chris Tyree is the top running back for the Fighting Irish. Chris Tyree has been known for his elite speed and agility, but the key will be becoming a complete running back. He will be alongside probable starting quarterback Tyler Buchner. With their elite speed, the duo will cause problems for opposing defenses.
Pass protection, receiving, and short yardage are all areas that will help Tyree take his game to the next level. Lance Taylor was one of the best running back coaches in the country, and now the running back room is led by another terrific coach in Deland McCullough.
McCullough is an excellent addition to the Notre Dame running backs room, and he even turned down the same position with the New York Giants to stay with Freeman and company.
Notre Dame’s Running Back Room
Notre Dame does not have a lot of depth at the running back position. For now, the group consists of Chris Tyree, Audric Estime, Gi’Bran Payne, and potentially Logan Diggs. Unfortunately, the Irish have already lost Jadarian Price for the season, and Logan Diggs is recovering from a shoulder injury. If Diggs could get some reps against Ohio State, it would help, but his availability is still uncertain.
All the Irish running backs have shown signs of greatness. Whether it is Chris Tyree’s explosive 94-yard run against Syracuse, Logan Diggs jumping over a Virginia defender, or Audric Estime running through people, there is undoubtedly talent at the position. However, it will be interesting to see how this group develops without Kyren Williams.
Last year, as Williams was on the sidelines for the Fiesta Bowl, the Notre Dame rushing attack had 21 attempts for 42 yards. I do not project that to be the case this fall, but I am still puzzled how the Irish could not run the football.
The Notre Dame Running Backs have a great opportunity this fall. Irish Offensive Line Coach Harry Heistand returns projected starters Joe Alt, Jarrett Patterson, Zeke Correll, Josh Lugg, and Blake Fisher. The Fighting Irish have the potential to win the Joe Moore Award for the best offensive line in the country. Although the offensive line was a weakness last year, they will be one of the best units in college football in 2022.
How did Oregon and Michigan upset Ohio State last fall? The Oregon Ducks had 269 rushing yards (7.1 yards per carry), while the Michigan Wolverines tallied 297 rushing yards (7.2 yards per carry). Those statistics make it apparent that Marcus Freeman’s group must run the football in Columbus.
The Buckeyes like to beat teams through the air and have gotten away from scrambling quarterbacks. If Notre Dame can run the football with players like Chris Tyree, they will have a chance to control the clock and upset the Buckeyes.