In what has already been a solid transfer market for the Notre Dame football program yesterday proved once again fruitful with the transfer of Nick McCloud.
Notre Dame is losing three starters in the back end of the defense to graduation and to the NFL, but the staff has been diligent in replacing what they’ve lost with experienced and talented college football veterans. First, they dipped into the Ohio State transfer market and picked up a former top 100 recruit in Isaiah Pryor to compete right away at safety. And now yesterday, after months of courting, the staff landed NC State cornerback grad transfer, Nick McCloud to compete for the boundary corner position.
When McCloud announced he was transferring, there were some early rumblings that Notre Dame was involved, but until a few weeks ago nothing had really been known. Terry Joseph was first on him, and Mike Mickens helped seal the deal over the last several months.
Nick McCloud is a former three-star recruit out of South Pointe High School in Rock Hill, South Carolina in 2016, and held offers from Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Maryland, Northwestern, UCLA, Vanderbilt, and West Virginia to go along with NC State.
However, he quickly proved why more schools should have been on him as he played in six games as a true freshman including a start in the Independence Bowl vs. Vanderbilt. As a sophomore, he started the first six games for the Wolfpack before sharing duties with senior Mike Stevens – who was coming off an injury. McCloud would again start for NC State in their bowl game. One of his six regular-season starts came against Notre Dame where he was tasked with guarding Kevin Stepherson – a battle in which he held his own well, although the same can’t be said for the rest of the NC State defense.
During his junior season, he would start in all 11 games he appeared in, and last year after being named a team captain he would only play in one game after going down with a knee injury early on. For his career at NC State, McCloud would start in 18 games – totaling three interceptions, 20 pass breakups, and 105 tackles.
It is tough to say without another quality season under his belt, but much like another Notre Dame transfer in Bennett Skowronek, it is fair to assume that McCloud would have been on many draft boards if he was able to play a full season in 2019 – and Notre Dame is lucky to be bringing in someone as experienced as Nick McCloud into their secondary.
With Troy Pride Jr. gone to the NFL, McCloud will battle redshirt freshman Isaiah Rutherford and K.J. Wallace for the starting boundary corner position in Clark Lea’s defense with Tariq Bracy essentially a lock at the field corner position. This move will help move Shaun Crawford inside and allow him to play the slot – where his speed, size, and skillset can be used in more creative ways as an important weapon.
At 6’1″ and 190pounds, Nick McCloud brings size the coaching staff covets, and specifically for the boundary position. If he is not a starter, he will bring leadership and quality depth to the rotation and we shouldn’t underestimate the fact he comes from the ACC – so he will know many of Notre Dame’s opponents well.
A secondary that looked like it might need a year to round back into a strength suddenly looks like it can once again one of the better position groups on the 2020 squad for the Irish if McCloud is fully healthy.