Notre Dame In The Hunt For Top 100 Running Back

Four-star Nicholas Singleton had a dominant junior season, and the Notre Dame target hears from the Fighting Irish as much as any program
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At the moment, Notre Dame is one of the hotter schools on the recruiting trail after landing pledges from Denison (Texas) running back Jadarian Price and Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic quarterback Steve Angeli in the last two weeks. Notre Dame is looking to add another standout to the backfield, and one of the best backs in the country is Reading (Pa.) Governor Mifflin star Nicholas Singleton.

Back in Nov. 2019, Singleton landed an offer from Notre Dame, and the 6-0, 200-pound back has built quite a close relationship with the coaching staff since that time. That relationship only grew when the nation's No. 3 running back prospect was able to visit South Bend.

“I visited two times for a game,” Singleton told Irish Breakdown. “It was a great experience. I got to see Coach [Brian] Kelly, Coach [Lance] Taylor. I got to see the games, the facilities and it's a beautiful campus too. Seeing the games was crazy. I went to the game when they played USC, so that game was crazy. The atmosphere was insane.”

With that trip to campus under his belt, Singleton has continued to form a bond with Taylor, and the Notre Dame assistant has revealed that the four-star prospect could be on a fast track to serious playing time if he commits to the program.

“We have a real tight, a real good relationship,” Singleton said. “He's been telling me he wants me to be part of Notre Dame. He wants to coach me, and he's been telling me if I go there that I'll have an opportunity to start right away.”

Considerable playing time is always a positive selling point for recruits, so the Notre Dame target is certainly keeping that in the back of his mind, but it is not the only factor to evaluate. Singleton detailed what exactly he is looking for out of his future school.

“I'm looking for great coaches that care about me, great relationships with the players, a good football team and good academics, which Notre Dame obviously has,” Singleton added.

Though Notre Dame is clearly pushing hard for the speedy ball carrier who racked up 1,311 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns in just eight games this past season, many other schools are firmly in the same race. Singleton said that he hears the most from Notre Dame, Penn State, Ohio State, Alabama, Michigan, Wisconsin, South Carolina and Northwestern, so he has a lot of options to consider.

When it comes to trimming that list down and releasing a top group, Singleton is unsure when that time will come, though he did say that it should be “soon,” and a commitment is likely to come during the summer. If that timeline holds true, Singleton will be off the market as he pursues a state championship with his teammates this fall.

Here is Irish Breakdown's analysis of Singleton's game:

"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."

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