The Journal Gazette
Friday, May 24, 2019 12:40 am

Notre Dame lands big-time running back

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

Notre Dame football added to an already solid 2020 recruiting class Thursday when elite four-star running back Chris Tyree committed to the Irish, spurning fellow 2018 College Football Playoff participants Alabama and Oklahoma in the process.

Tyree, a 5-foot-9, 178-pounder from Chester, Virginia, is the No. 1 all-purpose running back in the class and the No. 29 player overall, the highest recruit the Irish have landed in 2020. The commitment, the 11th in the class, improves Notre Dame’s group to No. 6 nationally. If that holds, it would be the highest-ranked class the Irish have landed since 2013, when the No. 5 class in the country was headlined by Fort Wayne native and Bishop Luers linebacker Jaylon Smith.

Tyree’s decision is an early victory for new running backs coach Lance Taylor, who is entering his first season with the Irish after former coach Autry Denson left to take the head coach position at Charleston Southern. Taylor was the running backs coach at Stanford, where he mentored Christian McCaffery and Bryce Love, two players with whom Tyree believes he shares similar skill sets.

It's difficult to overstate how good this 2020 Irish class is shaping up to be. They've already gotten commitments from four players among the national top 100 and three of those are in the top 60. Tyree is the highest-ranked commit so far and by all accounts, he will be a fixture in the Notre Dame backfield almost immediately. He rolled up more than 1,700 all-purpose yards as a junior in high school and also reportedly ran a 4.4-second 40-yard dash, which is uber-elite speed for a kid that still has room to get faster. He's a solid pass-catcher out of the backfield and should give offensive coordinator Chip Long plenty of options in scheming ways to use him.

It's also significant that the Irish outmaneuvered Oklahoma for Tyree. Notre Dame is taking advantage of the momentum it generated from its trip to the College Football Playoff and its recruiting has leveled up this year, with a focus on some recruits – like Tyree – that might have been out of reach in previous years. The Irish are landing big-time playmakers and it's not even the summer yet.

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