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Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024
The Observer

Troy Pride Jr. plans for a long NFL career

In all four years of his career, cornerback Troy Pride Jr. has been a pivotal member of the Irish football team and their defensive core. Since arriving on campus, Pride Jr. has made his presence felt, being one of 10 true freshmen during the 2016 season to play in at least eight games. But for Pride Jr. it has not been a simple and smooth ride, playing all four years of his career for the Irish.

“I mean it’s been hard. Nothing in life is easy,” Pride Jr. said. “But it’s the transformation. It’s just being one guy when you first get here and then transforming into another guy through offseason workouts, through film study, through being more savvy in the game. I’m happy to where I’ve come.”

Irish senior cornerback Troy Pride Jr. downs a rusher during Notre Dame's 21-20 victory over Virginia Tech at Notre Dame Stadium on Nov. 2.
Irish senior cornerback Troy Pride Jr. downs a rusher during Notre Dame's 21-20 victory over Virginia Tech at Notre Dame Stadium on Nov. 2.

It is well known and documented that Notre Dame is among the most storied and traditional football programs in the nation, producing several Heisman winners and great talented football players, and winning 13 recognized national championships. A chance to follow those great players and for a chance to be a part of tradition and history was a big draw for Pride Jr.

“The tradition. The rich heritage that Notre Dame has. The preaching of family and the finding out that this is truly a family,” Pride Jr. said. “What it means to play here is that you’re following greats. I remember specifically watching Manti Teo, who wore that number five, and ball out and take Notre Dame to the national championship and I had aspirations to do that myself. Obviously, I get a chance to wear the number five and so many greats have donned the number before me and it’s just an amazing experience.”

While Tony Pride Jr. has played in many games over his four years, he keeps several highlights of his career in high regard, even some of the undesirable ones.

“Well I have some bad memories for sure that I always keep and always carry with me,” Pride Jr. said. “But some of the good moments was my first interception against Navy in 2017, the playoff game against Clemson, the 12-0 win against USC, and I’m sure this Senior Night will be the next one. Those are some pretty big ones in my vault.”

It is very rare for specialized athletes to participate in more than one sport. It often times takes a very committed and driven individual to do that. Even so, Pride Jr. has been able to withstand the challenges that come with not only being a member of the football team, but also a member of the Notre Dame track team as a sprinter.

“It’s very difficult. Not very many people talk about it but I was waking up at 6 a.m. for workouts, going to class for three hours, and then going to track practice for three hours, and finishing by day at 8 or 9” Pride Jr. said. “I barely saw the sunlight sometimes. It was hard and it was a grind, but it definitely allowed me to be more mentally tough. Obviously, physically it made me better and I just pride myself in doing it because I know a lot of people couldn’t.”

For Pride Jr., it is his teammates that have helped him stay committed and driven during his career.

“My teammates have been instrumental in me wanting to continue to go hard for them, never letting them down, and just being stable and solid for them,” Pride Jr. said.

It is those same teammates and friends that Pride Jr. has found that have had the biggest impact on his time at the University.

“Probably some of my best friends, [senior safeties] Jalen Elliott [and] Alohi Gilman, [senior cornerback] Donte Vaughn [and New York Giants cornerback] Julian Love for sure,” Pride Jr. said. “Just some amazing people that I’ve had the opportunity to meet. Those are lifetime friends for me, and I wouldn’t be here without them. All the memories that we have are going to go with me forever.”

While Troy Pride Jr.’s time comes to a close at Notre Dame, the senior cornerback is hoping to take his talents to the next level in the pros or perhaps utilize his Film, television and theater major for a potential occupation choice in the future.

“Well I’m praying for a long and successful NFL career, but I know for a fact that the connection that Notre Dame has set me up to have a path in film, television and theater through either being broadcasting, or just sports marketing or sports media,” Pride Jr. said. “But I plan to obviously train for the NFL Draft and NFL Combine, Senior Bowl invite. All of that will come soon but you only take one step at a time. I have large goals for myself but right now we just got Boston College.”