Notre Dame Recruiting Profile: Nicholas Singleton, Running Back

Analysis of Notre Dame running back recruit Nicholas Singleton
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One of the top players on the board for Notre Dame is Shillington (Pa.) Governor Mifflin running back Nicholas Singleton.

NICHOLAS SINGLETON PROFILE

Hometown: Shillington, Pa.
High School: Governor Mifflin

Height: 6-0
Weight: 200

IB Grade: 4.0 (Top 100 caliber player)
Upside Grade: 5.0

2020 Stats: 107 carries - 1,311 rushing yards - 12.3 YPC - 22 TD (8 games)

Offers: Notre Dame, Alabama, Ohio State, Florida, Penn State, Michigan, USC, Wisconsin, Nebraska, North Carolina, Tennessee, Louisville, Missouri, South Carolina, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Michigan State, Boston College, Iowa State, Virginia Tech, NC State, Virginia, Northwestern, Maryland, Arizona State, Duke, Vanderbilt, Syracuse, Rutgers

Recruited By: Lance Taylor

RECRUITING RANKINGS

247Sports: 4-star - No. 42 overall - No. 3 RB
Rivals: 4-star - No. 126 overall - No. 7 RB
ESPN: 4-star - No. 182 overall - No. 17 RB
Composite: 4-star - No. 98 overall - No. 5 RB

FILM ANALYSIS

I liked Singleton's sophomore film, but his junior film was tremendous. He had an incredibly impressive campaign, rushing for 1,311 yards (12.3 YPC) in just eight games. He went from a quality, Top 250 caliber prospect on my board as a sophomore to a legit Top 100 player as a junior.

Singleton filled his frame out as a junior and his ability to run with authority took a big jump. He needs to work a bit on his technique when it comes to dipping and ripping between the tackles, but his leg drive is impressive, he runs with authority and he is a tough runner that can hammer defenses.

Part of his issue on the dip and rip is that he runs mostly out of an option offense, and even when he's in a split formation in a shotgun the majority of his carries are still outside. He just has a lot more experience running in space. There are plenty of snaps in game film where he runs with power, but that one technical area must be addressed, and it comes with experience.

Singleton reminds me a lot of former Notre Dame running back Dexter Williams in that while he might not be a burner in the traditional sense, his initial burst is tremendous and he has a second gear that allows him to be a home run hitter. Having a great burst is a key ingredient for a top runner, but having the vision and decisiveness to match is what separates good backs from great backs, and Singleton's initial reads, second level anticipation and overall vision and decision making is truly outstanding.

Athletically, Singleton is a smooth athlete that has excellent agility and balance. He's also a very efficient runner from a footwork standpoint, and that combination allows him to maximize the speed he does possess. Those traits also allow him to get downhill in a hurry, they allow him to make fast cuts and then get vertical and back to full speed.

Singleton is almost exclusively a right-handed ball carrier, which is something I'd like to see him improve. He needs to teach himself to automatically put the ball in his outside arm. With his strength and power he needs to be able to use his stiff arm when he's running to his left, and as a right-handed ball carrier he loses that skill when he's running left. 

He also needs to take some of the power and toughness he shows as a runner and apply it to his pass blocking. He's rarely used in the pass game, but watching a few game films he catches the option pitches clean and crisp, so he at least has good enough hands to be a factor in the check down game.

Junior Highlights

GRADE KEY

5.0 - Elite player
4.5 - All-American caliber player
4.0 - Multi-year starter
3.5 - Key role player / Late career-starter
3.0 - Backup

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