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The Irish Tribune 2023 Student-Athlete of the Year: Audric Estime

By Liam Farrell|Senior Staff Writer|Twitter/X: @LiamFarrell_IT


Via Notre Dame Athletics (Photo) & The Irish Tribune (Edit)


The 2023 season has been filled with great triumphs and bitter defeats. As the calendar is soon turning to 2024, it is time to recognize one athlete who is the embodiment of a Notre Dame man. This year, there was no person who better exemplifies the core values that the University possess than Junior running back, Audric Estime. On the field, Estime became the single season rushing touchdown leader in school history and was top five in rushing yards in a single season, as well. Notre Dame's offense was heavily reliant on his 1,341 rushing yards and multiple times this season, he single handily put the Irish on his back. Let's relive Estime's glorious 2023 campaign through five big accomplishments.



(5) Multi-Touchdown Games

In the 12-game season, Estime racked up 5 total multi-touchdown games. These included NC State (2), Duke (2), USC (2), Pitt (3), and Stanford (4). His endurance at the end of games was something to marvel at as he shed the first tackle attempt almost every time. His multi-touchdown games were also in pivotal scenarios while the offense may have been stalling. His 80-yard TD after an hour and a half rain delay against NC State ignited the Irish scoring in a tough road atmosphere; and the game-winning TD against Duke will be something Notre Dame fans will never forget. Five multiple touchdown performances are a true stat that leaves most NFL GM's clamoring for the 227 lb. back.


(4) Rushing Touchdowns against Stanford

The week of the Stanford game, there was quite the uproar as the Doak Walker Award released their Semifinalists list, highlighting the Top 10 running backs in the country. Audric Estime's name was not listed. The blatant and utter disrespect was even felt by the Notre Dame media team, who released a 15 minute highlight film of Estime's 2023 campaign. With a clear platform to stick it to the Doak Walker voting committee, Estime had his best game of the year. He rushed for a career high 4 touchdowns, along with racking up another career high 238 rushing yards. In his last game in an Irish uniform, Estime delivered a masterclass performance.



(3) 20+ Carry Games

Audric Estime was as dependable as could be throughout this entire season. In three games, the Nyack, New York, native got 20+ carries. Two out of the three were the last two games of the season, as well. Estime's commitment to strength and conditioning in the offseason surely paid off. This is yet another strength in Estime's repertoire that looks intriguing to NFL scouts. His ability to stay healthy and make an impact on the field in all 12 games this season is an accomplishment that not a lot of other running backs can hold to their name.


(2) 50+ Yard Runs

When it comes to NFL scouts analyzing Estime's game, most live behind the big back stereotype. While this may ultimately be true, Estime still has the ability to bounce runs outside and hit a homerun. This was showcased on two instances this year as Estime added two 50+ yard runs to his skillset. There were numerous 30+ yard runs as well, but this stat is better suited to disprove that Estime is only a between the tackles runner.



(1) Best Back in College Football

The Doak Walker Award got it wrong. I'm not sure who is on the committee who represents the distribution of this award, but a change must be made. Audric's slash line of 1,341 yards, 18 TDs, and an average of 6.4 yards per carry is second to none in college football. The man got robbed of this award, and I'm sure he will keep this chip on his shoulder as he is elevating his game from college to the NFL level. Estime will continue the new pipeline of elite level running backs to come out of Notre Dame, following in the footsteps of Kyren Williams. There is no doubt in my mind that Estime should be the first running back taken in the draft, but if he slips at all, one lucky NFL organization is getting the best player in the country for the 2024 draft class.


*(0)* Fumbles Lost


I wanted to include a cherry on top to commemorate the 2023 season for Estime by adding this stat that hasn't been getting mentioned. The man never had a turnover. In the Navy game all the way at the beginning of the year, Estime fumbled the ball out of bounds on the second drive of the game and was benched for the rest of the half. Freeman used this to tell his team that no one player is above the rules, even the superstar. Estime clearly learned his lesson and didn't have any other fumbles for the rest of the year. Ball security certainly is job security, and Estime, even on 210 carriers, never turned the ball over once.




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