Blue and Gold Illustrated

March 2020

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 27 of 83

28 MARCH 2020 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED 2020 FOOTBALL RECRUITING ISSUE BY LOU SOMOGYI W hen it comes to running backs, several states have produced a higher volume for the Fighting Irish than Virginia, but none in the last 50 years has had the enormous success rate and overall production. In Chester, Va., native and 5-9½, 179-pound Chris Tyree — the na- tion's No. 4 all-purpose back and No. 78 overall prospect per Rivals — head coach Brian Kelly and his staff landed a game-breaking element to the offense. Because of Notre Dame's 2013 union with the ACC and its greater emphasis now on the mid-Atlantic and Sun Belt regions, Virginia, the Carolinas — two growing football hotbeds after being known mostly in the past for basket- ball — and Georgia have become en- hanced recruiting territories. Just more than 30 players from the Old Dominion State have seen action for Notre Dame, and two of them started on the 2019 squad: se- nior safety captain Jalen Elliott (Rich- mond), who finished with 39 consecu- tive starts, and junior rover Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (Hampton), who tied for the team lead in tackles (80) and sacks (5.5), and paced the Irish in stops for lost yardage (13.5) while also breaking up four passes, forcing two fumbles and recovering two. Also on the roster is current fresh- man No. 2 quarterback Brendon Clark (Midlothian). The state has produced its share of prominent players at various posi- tions, including first-rounders such as defensive tackle Eric Dorsey (McLean) and offensive tackle Andy Heck (An- nandale), a captain for the 1988 na- tional champs. Also, defensive back and captain Tom Gibbons excelled on the record-setting defense in 1980. However, no single position from Virginia has had more prominence than running back. Here is our count- down of the best backs from the state at Notre Dame when it came to run- ning the ball. 5t. Coley O'Brien (Annandale, 1966‑68) and Al Samuel (Newport News, 1972‑74) Most remember O'Brien as the sophomore quarterback who came off the bench in place of an injured Terry Hanratty to help the Irish win the 1966 national title with his per- ON THE RUN Chris Tyree could be Notre Dame's next standout back from Virginia Tyree is the latest in a long line of outstanding running backs from the Commonwealth of Virginia, an Irish list that is currently topped by Allen Pinkett. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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