Notre Dame TaRiq Bracy

Notre Dame TaRiq Bracy

Ranking The Irish: #20 - Cornerback TaRiq Bracy

Notre Dame junior cornerback TaRiq Bracy is next up on the Ranking The Irish series
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The Top 25 players for Notre Dame in 2020 continues with a look at junior cornerback TaRiq Bracy.

This analysis for the Top 25 Irish players is a combination of talent, expected production, importance of that player’s role and also the value the player brings. The value aspect includes the position played and also the depth chart, meaning who can the Irish least afford to lose.

Let's look at why Bracy is such a valuable player for Notre Dame:

MAKING THE CASE

Brady had some impressive moments during his freshman season, with performances against Pittsburgh and Florida State standing above the rest. Despite a lack of size, the speedy cornerback proved capable of being an effective cornerback in his first season at Notre Dame.

As a sophomore, Bracy continued being a flashy player. When he was on his game he was excellent, and he was arguably the best pure cover player on the roster. In fact, freshman All-American Kyle Hamilton was the only defensive back to receiver a better coverage grade from Pro Football Focus than did Bracy.

Keeping with the PFF theme, Bracy's overall season-ending grade was higher than Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Alohi Gilman, Troy Pride Jr., Jalen Elliott, Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, Kurt Hinish and Daelin Hayes.

Now, am I saying that Bracy was a better player than Owusu-Koramoah, Pride or Gilman last season? No, I am not, but it does show that all-in-all, Bracy had a quality second season for an Irish defense that ranked third nationally in passing yards allowed, third nationally in yards allowed per pass attempt, fifth nationally in pass efficiency defense and 17th in completion percentage allowed.

Bracy was at his best in Notre Dame's loss to Georgia. The Bulldogs threw at him three times, but only one pass was caught, and it went for just five yards. Bracy added two break ups in the game, and PFF had him as the team leader with eight break ups on the season.

AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT

Heading into his third season, Bracy must now take another step forward. Notre Dame needs him to become a more consistent player. Bracy was excellent at times, but he also had a couple of rough performances. He really struggled against Virginia, giving up nine completions (according to PFF) for over 100 yards, struggling with the size of the UVA wideouts.

There will be big receivers on the schedule again in 2020, and Bracy must learn to play better in those matchups. He can't get taller or longer, but he can improve how he plays at the line of scrimmage, how he plays the ball, and he can and must get stronger.

Bracy must prove himself capable of being an every down player, and not someone who the defense turns to when it needs to matchup well against a speedy player. He needs to prove himself to be a full-time standout, one capable of playing outside and in the slot, and he must be a more consistent defender.

If Bracy struggles, so will the Irish pass defense against the better opponents on the schedule.

If Bracy makes the expected junior-year leap, and plays to his full potential. he'll prove to be one of the best cover players in the ACC. Him emerging as an every down player will also allow defensive coordinator Clark Lea to use veteran Shaun Crawford in more of a nickel/rotation/matchup role, which makes him more effective as well.

If Bracy plays to his full potential he'll prove himself to be better than the 20th best player on the Irish defense.

Past Breakdowns:

#25 - Third Linebacker
#24 - Kurt Hinish, DT
#23 - Jonathan Doerer, PK
#22 - Lawrence Keys III, WR
#21 - Shaun Crawford, CB

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The Top 25 players for Notre Dame in 2020 continues with a look at junior cornerback TaRiq Bracy.

This analysis for the Top 25 Irish players is a combination of talent, expected production, importance of that player’s role and also the value the player brings. The value aspect includes the position played and also the depth chart, meaning who can the Irish least afford to lose.

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