SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Tarean Folston took a carry to the outside and dashed 36 yards two weeks ago against Oklahoma, asserting himself on the college stage.
While Folston only has 11 carries on the season, he could be poised to take on a greater role within Notre Dame's offense in the second half of the season. But the freshman running back, rated as a four-star prospect from the heart of SEC/ACC territory, didn't come to campus thinking he deserved an immediate chance to play.
"It's not about coming in right away and playing," Folston said. "Every freshman wants to do that -- you have to come in and prepare yourself for the college football life. It's a whole different lifestyle, it's a whole different way about going about the game of football."
That 36-yard run against Oklahoma, though, gave Folston the confidence that he can make an impact at Notre Dame. He could've made an impact in the SEC, fielding offers from Auburn, Florida, South Carolina and Texas A&M. He could've made an impact in the ACC, too, with offers from Florida State, Virginia Tech and soon-to-be conference member Louisville.
"SEC is just a name, ACC is just a name," Folston said. "I go to schools that can benefit me as a young man growing up and as a football player. I feel like I made the right choice."
Despite a depth chart topped by George Atkinson, Amir Carlisle and Cam McDaniel, and coming into Notre Dame with the more-hyped Greg Bryant, Folston's found a way to impress his coaches. A few weeks ago, coach Brian Kelly gushed about what Folston brings to the table:
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"Just looks like everything he does is very smooth," he said. "Gets out of his breaks very, very well. Puts his foot in the ground and can accelerate. Catches the ball extremely well."
For Folston, Notre Dame's academics were a big draw. He's realistic -- a lot can happen between now and draft eligibility -- and going somewhere he figured could set him up for life after football drew him to chilly climate of northern Indiana.
"This is a great program. This program, it can take you far in life, football or not football. It's a lot of great people here, a lot of great people I've yet to meet. I feel like my journey here has just begun."