top of page

Reloading The Run: Weapons Poised to Replace Estime's Production in 2024

Written by Owen O'Connor Writer Twitter/X: @Ocon54

Photo by The Irish Tribune


The Irish offense has some big shoes to fill when it comes to replacing production in the run game. Former starting running back Audric Estime was a clear staple of the offensive gameplan going into most games last season, and has cemented his legacy as one of the greatest Irish running backs in recent memory in terms of production and athleticism. He managed to account for 18 of the teams 28 rushing touchdowns, and was responsible for 55% of the total rushing yards in 2023, despite splitting carriers with some of the names we will be discussing shortly. Estime averaged an absurd 6.4 yards-per carry in 2023, the most by a leading tailback since Josh Adams posted 6.8 in 2017. The second-team All-American had announced that he would be declaring for the 2024 NFL Draft, and will likely be the biggest loss on the offensive side of the ball outside of projected top-10 pick Joe Alt. Luckily for Notre Dame, Marcus Freeman's insatiable appetite on the recruiting trail has set Notre Dame up well for the future. There is definitely an argument to be made that the Irish haven't seen this amount of depth within the offense in quite some time, so without further delay, these players will be the reason why production on the ground will continue to trend upward into the future.





Jeremiyah Love

Love was a highly touted 4-star recruit who signed with Notre Dame under Marcus Freeman's first recruiting class as head coach. The Class-6 football State Champion averaged an impressive 10.4 yards-per-carry and had 14 touchdowns his senior year for Christian Brothers College, and like he showcased this season, can accelerate at a phenomenal rate. He was also a track state champion in the 100 meter dash for his track team. This year, the freshman running back from St. Louis made an early impression with 86 yards and a touchdown on just nine carries in the first 2 games. Jeremiyah Love brings home run speed to the running back room that can revitalize a stalling offense. Expect to see new offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock giving Love opportunities in space, as this is where he can do the most damage (see his Sun Bowl touchdown). After a strong start to his college career, we'll see if he can be the difference maker on the ground in a far more prominent role for Notre Dame in 2024. His speed and agility will likely be the reason that we see his potential come to fruition this fall.

Jadarian Price

Just like Love, Jadarian Price was a consensus 4-star recruit, but is one year older and has a much broader frame. As one of the rotational running backs for the Irish, Jadarian Price saw moderate action throughout the season both as a tailback and on special teams. Price was turning heads from the second that Notre Dame fans caught a glimpse of him during the 2022 Blue & Game, where he housed a screen pass from Steve Angeli, outrunning a plethora of upper-class defenders as a freshman. Unfortunately for Price and the rest of the offense, he missed the entirety of the 2022 season due to a ruptured achilles tendon in the offseason which forced him to redshirt. Price returned in 2023 with all four years of eligibility still intact, and contributed successfully. The highlight of his season, of course, came against Southern Cal, where he returned a kickoff 99 yards to seal a victory over the then-undefeated Trojans. Price saw 24 less carries than Love during the season, but managed to deliver overall promising numbers thanks to his bowl game performance versus Oregon State. In the bowl game, Price averaged 8.2 yards-per-carry without the help of Notre Dame's starting offensive tackles, and totaled 106 yards on just 13 carries. Even though Love was statistically more impressive through most of the regular season, Jadarian Price's bowl game performance should instill confidence that he can be an every-down back in a similar role to Estime in 2024.





Riley Leonard

The new Irish signal caller might surprise some readers here, but Leonard brings many tools that can improve overall offensive production. The star transfer from Duke is bringing a dual-threat style to the quarterback position that can create more opportunities for this offense in 2024. His combination of size, mobility, and arm strength is something this offense hasn't seen since Brandon Wimbush was the starting quarterback for the Irish to kick off the 2018 season, and should be a welcomed addition to an offense that seemed to be sorrily missing a dual-threat element. Riley Leonard averaged 6.1 yards-per-carry last season for Duke with 352 yards in seven games. Leonard is coming off a high ankle surgery, but should still be able to open up the Irish offensive playbook and cause defenses fits come this fall.


The Notre Dame offense will have a lot of fresh faces this season after many departed for the NFL draft. Coach Marcus Freeman has shown confidence in his players by giving opportunities to underclassmen such as Jadarian Price and Jeremiyah Love, who will look to build on incredibly opening campaigns. We'll see who is ready to fill a much needed role for the Irish during the Spring game on April 20th.












Comments


Enjoyed This Article?
Subscribe
For

FREE
The Irish Tribune
The Irish Tribune
The Irish Tribune
The Irish Tribune
The Irish Tribune
The Irish Tribune
The Irish Tribune
The Irish Tribune
bottom of page