Notre Dame has been rumored to be on the verge of offering Michigan State commit Audric Estime, the top prep running back in the state of New Jersey, for weeks. On Monday, they made it official by offering the 4-star, top-250 running back just two days before the early Signing Period opens.
In just eight games this fall, Estime ran for 1,838 yards and 22 touchdowns. He did that damage against some of the top programs in the state of New Jersey.
- Bergen Catholic – 18 attempts, 176 yards, 3 TDs
- St. Peter’s Prep – 25 attempts, 203 yards, 4 TDs
- Don Bosco Prep – 24 attempts, 309 yards, 3 TDs
Those are three of the premier programs in New Jersey that regularly produce Division 1 talent. Estime ran all over all three of them this year. For his efforts, he was named the New Jersey prep player of the year by NJ.com. His senior year performance also saw his national profile rise. He moved up to #245 in the 247Sports composite rankings from #366.
As a junior, Estime ran for 1,190 yards on 173 attempts with 15 touchdowns. Over the last three years, Estime ran for 49 touchdowns alone. His yards per attempt increased significantly each year as well, from 5.5 as a sophomore to 6.9 last year as a junior up to 9.8 this fall.
At 6’1’, 215 lbs, Estime would be the biggest running back on the Notre Dame roster from the day he steps foot on campus. Notre Dame has used C’bo Flemister as a short-yardage back at times this year. He’s been effective but more so because he’s a violent runner, not because he’s a prototypical power back.
The thought of a big back like Estime running behind Notre Dame’s offensive line in an offensive system that has been taking pride in bludgeoning opponents this year should have Notre Dame fans excited. Greg wrote recently about the success of the Notre Dame offense in the redzone this year. Adding a big back that looks like Estime should only make the Irish even more effective in the redzone.
Since reporting the Notre Dame offer earlier today, two recruiting experts at 247Sports have made Crystal Ball predictions for him to flip from Michigan State to Notre Dame. Estime committed to Michigan State in September over Texas A&M, Louisville, Virginia Tech, Arizona State, and Oklahoma State, among others.
Running back recruiting has been a rollercoaster for Notre Dame this cycle. The Irish unsuccessfully put all of their eggs in one basket early, going all-in for 5-star back Will Shipley. When Shipley spurred the Irish for Clemson, Notre Dame reset its board – trying to make Donovan Edwards are primary target again. The Irish have been attempting to make inroads with Edwards over the last eight months, but it seems pretty apparent that he will be signing with Michigan on Wednesday.
Logan Diggs committed to Notre Dame in the wake of Shipley’s commitment to Clemson. Still, the Louisiana native was recently offered by in-state power LSU, leaving some wondering if a flip could be in his future. There was some growing sentiment that Diggs was still solid with Notre Dame, but how the Estime offer impacts is unclear.
Notre Dame wants to add two running backs in this class after Jahmir Smith stepped away from the program to address his mental health this summer. Should Notre Dame add Estime but lose Diggs, look for the Irish to turn up the heat on Byron Caldwell – another back they have made a late priority.