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Pryor moves around the secondary, finds his home at Notre Dame

| Friday, December 18, 2020

Ohio State graduate transfer Isaiah Pryor may not have been expecting to be moved around the field when he announced his intent to transfer to Notre Dame, but he has certainly taken it in stride and is by no means complaining about his situation. The shift is not as drastic as transferring colleges, for example, as he just shifted from the safety to the rover position. His choice to play for Notre Dame was driven not only by football, but also by education. 

Pryor said the choice to come to Notre Dame was a no-brainer, as it was a perfect balance of his academic and his athletic ambitions.

“I am working on getting my masters. I’m a little over halfway through with that,” he said. “That was very important to me — making sure that I set up, you know, life after football at a great institution,” he said. “And as far as playing, I did feel like there was opportunity … to play great football with a great team, great coaching staff.”

Courtesy of Notre Dame Athletics
Graduate student safety Isaiah Pryor has found a home in the Notre Dame secondary after transferring from Ohio State last year.

As far as the shift in his position goes, it is not as extreme as Notre Dame moving players to opposite sides of the ball like in the past, but Pryor is embracing some new roles that he was not accustomed to in Columbus. Pryor has moved a little closer to the action in the rover position, a role that he played in high school in Lawrence, Ga. The Irish are certainly trying to utilize every bit of Pryor’s athleticism, as he brings the national championship experience Notre Dame had been missing.

“Moving to rover has been a great experience for me after I played a decent amount of it in high school, actually,” Pryor said. “So it was something that I felt comfortable doing, going in there playing more of like a hybrid position, covering blitzing, doing that type of thing, and also helping out the team any way that I can. When they asked me to make the move, it was … whatever they needed me to do, I would do it.”

In moving to rover, Pryor has been able to expand his football IQ, as he has been thrown into a Brian Polian run special teams group. 

“I was always growing up understanding how important special teams are on teams. It is a very crucial part of the team,” Pryor said. “It’s something that shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially because most of the time it could be the difference between winning and losing the game. So you know, I’m taking it very seriously and I try to do my hardest to make sure that I get my job done and make sure everyone’s doing what they’re supposed to do. And you know being a leader anyway I can get even if it is special teams.”

Courtesy of Notre Dame Athletics
Graduate student safety Isaiah Pryor celebrates with teammates after a big play during Notre Dame’s 27-13 season-opening win over Duke on Sept. 12 at Notre Dame Stadium.

Although he does value his education and his football career, Pryor didn’t come to Notre Dame demanding to be a starter at his position. As a veteran, he could have been irritated with his role, but he realized what was being asked of him by his team. So far, it seems to have worked out for the best. 

Pryor had his best season with the Buckeyes in 2018 when he recorded 31 tackles and an interception on top of it, but when his playing time was cut significantly in 2019 and he announced his intent to transfer. 

In addition, Pryor is helping to fill out one the nation’s stoutest secondaries. The Irish are currently allowing the 17th-fewest pass yards in the country and are looking to bolster those numbers against Jordan Yates and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets this weekend.  

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About Jimmy Ward

Jimmy is a senior at Holy Cross College, where he studies English and sports management. He is originally from Westfield, Indiana. Currently, Jimmy serves as an associate sports editor at The Observer. You can find him at @jimmyyward on Twitter.

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