There is nothing more pure and full of hope than pouring over the highlights of a skill position player. All the runs are dynamic, there is no downside, and every clip is full of possibility. To be clear, all commitments are fun and exciting, but when it’s a running back or receiver it’s just a little bit more exciting.
With that in mind, we all got a jolt of excitement last week, when 2022 top 200 running back Jadarian Price out of Texas committed to play for the Notre Dame football team. His recruitment went on the fast track; Notre Dame offered about one month ago, he immediately tried to visit, but could not because of weather, but was not deterred and committed on February 21st. Price is reportedly a very good student, with a GPA above 4.0, therefore it’s very easy to see the fit between the Irish and Price.
His commitment gave me the opportunity to pour over high school highlights (watch his full junior year highlights here), do some prognosticating, and find a player comp, always a fun exercise.
Jadarian Price, The Recruit
Composite Rating: #195 overall, .9239, four stars
Other Offers: Texas, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Stanford, USC, Auburn
If Price’s ranking holds up, he’ll be the second highest rated back Notre Dame has signed in the last six cycles, behind Chris Tyree in 2020. Given the attention he received from Texas, Ohio State, USC, and Oklahoma State, I believe it’s fair to say Price was a very highly sought after player, which backs up his ranking.
Price is a player who fans can feel good about sticking; the combination of his academic accomplishments, plus the quickness by which he committed, lends itself to a player who knew what he wanted and got the deal done. Plus, with the big in state school, Texas, already having offered, there isn’t likely to be a last minute “ooh X school just offered, this changes things” scenario. Price checks the boxes of a high ranking, impressive offer list, and pretty clear cultural fit. Lots to feel good about all around.
Jadarian Price, The Player
Price is not big, but he’s not small. He’s not a burner, but he’s not slow. He’s dynamic, but he doesn’t dance. He can run inside, he can run outside. He’s a one cut player, but he also has good change of direction. He’s not elite at anything, but he’s good at pretty much everything. Given all of this, it’s very easy to see why he’s rated where he is. There is no trait, at least at this moment, that says “that’s a top 100 player”, but there is so much there to like that it would be crazy to drop him. He seems like the type of player that would pop up at Oklahoma State or Baylor, rush for 1,400 yards, 15 touchdowns, on about six a carry and we wonder “why can’t we get in on a player like that?”
Price has a “he knows how to be a running back” style, similar to what Kyren Williams has. He knows how to absorb and run through contact, and players often just bounce off of him as he strides past them. And these aren’t glancing blows either, which is especially demoralizing for a defender. When you get a square shot on a ball carrier and they take it and move on, that really hurts the psyche.
Price also has the speed and acceleration to outrun an angle, which makes him an especially dangerous player from the defenses perspective. He’s probably a little bit faster than Kyren Williams in this respective, maybe a step or so faster, but one step in football can be the difference between a 20 yard gain and a 50. He also has good long speed, meaning he doesn’t lose speed quickly and is therefore difficult to run down. Again, he’s a step slower than elite, but if for whatever reason he gains that step as a senior he’s an elite player.
Price is not shifty to way Kyren Williams is, but he has Lee Becton type moves, where it’s often one subtle shift of his feet and hips and he’s by the defender or the defender is caught leaning and reaching, which is basically hopeless against Price with a head of steam. Any glancing blow is just going to get run through.
The other thing with Price is he’s been doing this since his freshman season in high school. He ran for 1,400+ yards as a freshman with 16 touchdowns, then added another 1,100 yards as a junior on less carries while scoring 18 total touchdowns. He also caught 28 passes, a skill that would make him a screen candidate and not a Theo Riddick candidate. He’s a running back, not a hybrid slot guy.
Player Comparison And Position Overview
Price reminds me a lot of a pre-knee injury Tarean Folston. Both have that natural running ability, and nice feet, Price probably has a little bit more top end speed than Folston did though. Folston played a whole bunch as a freshman at Notre Dame and I could see Price being an early contributor, assuming he can pick up aspects of the pass blocking game, which we have not seen on film. But, given his natural ability as a player, his feel for the game, and his strong lower body the only thing that would limit him in the blocking area would be an unwillingness to do it, and I choose to think he’s got the willingness.
Notre Dame now has Kyren Williams, Chris Tyree, C’Bo Flemister, Audric Estime, and Logan Diggs with eligibility in 2023, but we have to figure Williams and Flemister will not make it that far. That gives Notre Dame Tyree, Estime, Diggs, and Price on the 2022 roster. You would think if Notre Dame were to take a second running back in the 2022 class they’d want someone as good or better than Price, given the numbers. So maybe players like Nicholas Singleton (#111 overall) or Dallan Hayden (#255 overall) fit that bill and the Irish narrow their focus to them. The addition of Price gives Notre Dame a great start at the position though and allows Notre Dame to operate from a standpoint of strength.