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May 17, 2019 marked a big day for Jadarian Price who was just a freshman at Denison (Texas) High. He picked up an offer from Texas which sent shockwaves in his community. The Longhorns were the second school to offer Price who earned a scholarship from UTSA the previous month.

During his freshman campaign in 2018, Price ran for 1,421 yards and 16 touchdowns on 210 carries. He was considered one of the best young backs in the entire nation, and schools continued to line up with scholarship offers, including Arkansas, Baylor, Ohio State, Oklahoma State and TCU before the start of his sophomore season.

Expectations were sky high for Price in 2019, but he battled an ankle injury for the duration of the season. He played in seven games and carried the rock 129 times for 621 yards and three touchdowns. Price didn’t even release a sophomore highlight film.

“I didn’t have that full burst on my film that I wanted everyone to see,” Price said. “I didn’t want people to see me limping on the field. I just didn’t have that burst that I wanted, so I decided not to put out my film.”

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The Fighting Irish landed its first running back pledge of the 2022 class in Februrary
The Fighting Irish landed its first running back pledge of the 2022 class in Februrary (Mike Singer)

His recruitment remained steady after his sophomore season, even if it wasn’t what he had hoped for. Arizona State, Auburn, Minnesota, Missouri, Texas Tech, Utah and Virginia Tech offered early in 2020.

Price got back on track as a junior and rushed for 1,145 yards and 18 touchdowns on just 174 carries in 11 games. Stanford offered last October, and pundits believed that he’d end up playing for the Cardinal. He narrowed down his recruitment to Baylor, Minnesota, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Stanford, TCU, Texas and USC on Christmas Day 2020.

The coronavirus pandemic shifted the timeline that Price had planned. He needed to speed things up.

“It changed my mindset,” Price said. “I made a top eight in December, and I wasn’t even planning on making a top group until the summer. I had to make a decision fast because I couldn’t take any visits.”

Ohio State, Oklahoma State and Texas were the three schools Price was considering the most. But various factors such as spots filling up and the coaching carousel spinning took those programs off the table.

On Jan. 26, Notre Dame entered the picture, which was huge for Price.

“I looked into it so much,” Price said. “I did more research on them than I did any other school. It’s a 14-hour drive but a two-hour plane ride.”

Price didn’t waste much time as he committed to the Fighting Irish less than a month after he received the offer. His announcement date was Feb. 21, as Price didn’t want to be the player who lost his spot at Notre Dame because he waited too long. Rather, he wanted to be the recruit who grabbed his spot that other prospects wanted.

“I thought, ‘Dang, I want to be that guy.’ When Notre Dame hit, that blew up. My coaches were telling me how much of a prestigious school it is. They said that Notre Dame is ‘the place.’ I talked to my mom, prayed about it and felt comfortable with it.”

Notre Dame special teams coordinator Brian Polian was the Irish coach who extended the offer to Price and did a lot of the leg work in the recruitment. Running backs coach Lance Taylor built a strong connection with Price as well.

“They’re careful with who they recruit, and I’m truly blessed that they offered me,” Price said. “Coach Polian has been on me and given me a lot of information about Notre Dame.

“Coach Taylor is a cool dude. I feel comfortable talking to him. I can’t wait to get on Zooms with him and talk Notre Dame football.”

Price informed Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly that he wanted to commit during a 15 minute phone call.

“It felt like I knew him for 15 months,” Price added. ”It was awesome.”

More Notre Dame staffers have been in contact with Price since his pledge to the Irish.

“A couple coaches on the offensive side of the ball contacted me after I committed, and I have them locked in my phone,” Price explained, “I’m building those relationships. I’ve built great connections with all of the coaches. I talk to Coach Taylor every other day, and he’s respectful to me and the time that I have. He’s a good dude.”

Price has gotten to know Notre Dame’s other 2022 commitments via their group text message chat. He was expecting his fellow Irish commits to be different than him, but Price has been pleased to see how well he fits in with them.

“They’re just regular teenagers. They play video games and talk about girls,” Price said with a laugh. “That makes me a lot more comfortable.”

Price, who hopes to enroll early at Notre Dame, is aware that the Fighting Irish are going to take a second running back in the 2022 class. It’s something he’s completely fine with as well.

“I’m 100 percent with Notre Dame,” he stated.

Getting To Know Price

Jadarian Price had to grow up fast.

His mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016 when he was in the seventh grade. Price lives in a single parent household with two younger sisters and had to help lead his family through tough times.

“They’re my rock,” he said. “I’ve seen how strong women can be, and that’s affected the way I treat women. I’m really big on that – treating women right. “I didn’t know my father until I was 12, but I’ve had plenty of father figures in my life, whether that be coaches, cousins or men who have taught me how to be a respectful young man.”

Thankfully, Price reports that his mother is a cancer survivor.

“I watched her go through chemo for six months,” he added. “I saw her fight through it, and that gives me no excuses to quit at all.”

Price has more of a reserved, quiet personality, but as the face of the Denison football program and a national recruit, he’s had to take a step into the limelight.

“I’ve always been quiet,” Price said. “With these interviews, it’s forced me to talk more and meet so many new people. I’m not as quiet as I used to be.”

Price plans to major in business at Notre Dame; he has interest in community relations and management.

“I have a 4.17 GPA; I like to tell people that,” Price said with a smile. “I’ve worked hard for that.”

He’s also a multi-sport athlete who has a unique hobby for his age.

“I play a lot of basketball in my free time,” Price said. “With COVID and the snowstorm here, I’ve picked up a lot of patience and have fallen in love with puzzles. That’s really weird for a teenager to say, but I love puzzles.

“Working out and playing sports are my main hobbies, plus schoolwork. I’m constantly being challenged and challenging others to be better.”

Uncharted Territory

Charlie Means has been at Denison (Texas) High for 21 years and has seen a lot while coaching in the small town of 25,000 people just south of the Oklahoma border.

One thing he hasn’t seen is coaches from Notre Dame recruiting his prospects, but that changed in January when Price netted an offer from the Fighting Irish.

“As far as I know, this is the only kid we’ve ever had who has been recruited by Notre Dame, and we’ve had quite a few national recruits,” said Means, who served as the Yellow Jackets’ offensive coordinator for Price’s first three high school seasons.

“Notre Dame is thought of as a school that is a long way from here,” Denison defensive coordinator and recruiting specialist Todd Wallis said. “There aren’t people from around here that go to Notre Dame.”

Notre Dame has a national brand and will recruit any state — or country for that matter — where the staff feels it can find an individual who fits the university from an academic and athletic profile.

The Irish staff hasn’t been able to meet Price in person because of the ongoing recruiting dead period enforced by the NCAA, but running backs coach Lance Taylor learned enough about Price to want to accept his commitment.

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“It speaks volumes about Jadarian for them to go somewhere that they don’t always come,” Wallis said.

Rivals ranks the 5-11, 180-pound Price as a four-star talent and the No. 5 all-purpose back No. 230 overall prospect in the country. His high school coordinators couldn’t rave more about his talents on the field.

“He’s obviously a special kid. I’m glad we don’t have to play against him and it’s just practice,” Wallis said with a laugh. “It’s a run-by situation; we don’t try to tackle him. We feel good by just getting close enough to be in a position to make a play.”

“He’s multi-faceted,” Means added. “He’s very good as a true running back, but he’s also an above average receiver. He plays in the slot for us sometimes and is a great route runner with a high football IQ. He’s an exceptional football player. He’s a great blocker, too.

“Everything we do offensively starts with him. Our game plan is centered around him and how we can get him the ball. He’s our focus.”

Means and Wallis both expressed very strong sentiments about how Price is an exemplary young man. Their comments may seem cliché, but they are genuine.

“As good as he is a player, he’s even better as a human,” Wallis said. “He’s a great kid and fantastic student. Jadarian is soft-spoken. It would be really easy to be verbose and tell everyone how good he is, but if they see him play, then they already know.

“He’s a kid I welcome into my house at any time. He’s a joy to be around.”

“He is a phenomenal football player, but he’s an even better young man,” Means echoed. “He’s a high-character, role-model kid. He’s the guy you want your daughter to date.”

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