football Edit

Why Notre Dame Was The Right Choice For Ramon Henderson

One month before Ramon Henderson put pen to paper to officially sign with Notre Dame, the Bakersfield (Calif.) Liberty defensive back had a conversation with special teams coordinator Brian Polian, who was his main point of contact with the Irish during the recruiting process.

Henderson told Polian that he wanted to commit to the Fighting Irish.

"He said to sleep on it and make sure this was the right choice," Henderson said. "I called him the next morning right before school and told him I'm going with my gut and commit to you guys. He said, 'I'm glad and welcome to the family.'"

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Ramon Henderson was a very important target for the Fighting Irish in the 2020 class.
Ramon Henderson was a very important target for the Fighting Irish in the 2020 class. (Nick Lucero/

The 6-3, 180-pounder's plan all along was to make a silent commitment and then announce his school of choice on National Signing Day. And that's exactly what he did.

But without a public pledge in place nor a signed National Letter of Intent just yet, Notre Dame continued to recruit Henderson to the final hour to make sure he'd officially side with the Irish as other schools made their push for him as well.

It came down to Notre Dame, UCLA and Utah, and there were plenty of reasons for Henderson to pick the Irish.

"Why not Notre Dame?" Henderson said. "It's a good school, academic-wise and sports-wise. If it wasn't going to be Notre Dame, the other closest choice was Utah. Notre Dame just felt like a better fit for me. I feel like I can go there and play a key role.

"I love the coaching staff. I love people at the school who are outside of sports. I see me developing there not only as a football player but as a man. There are some good people there and can help me out in a significant way."

Of his final choices, Notre Dame was certainly the school farthest from home. Henderson feels that his family supports his decision, but it will certainly be difficult for Henderson to be away from his mother, Tia Brown.

"Being away from my mom was a big attention grabber for me," Henderson explained. "I was really considering UCLA and loved the coaches, and when I went on that trip to Utah, I really liked them too. She just wanted the best fit for me and education should be before football. I got the best of both with Notre Dame.

"Obviously, it's a little bit longer of a flight to Notre Dame than the other schools, but I know my mom will get there when I need her to. I'm excited about my new chapter. I leave Friday. My mom, god-mom and some friends will go out there with me and send me off."

The passing of Henderson's grandmother was a tough moment for him several years ago, but he rallied behind his mom and propelled his football career.

"My favorite lady in the world was my grandmother," said Henderson. "When she passed was when I was thrown into football, and I was just angry all the time. Football was the way I could get out of things. My mom really helped throughout my life. In my opinion, you have to go through certain horrible things to get the best things in life. It's sad to say, but maybe without my grandma passing, I probably wouldn't be playing football today. That's truly what I think.

"After my grandma passed, the only person I had was my mom, and I know she broke her back in every way possible just to provide for me. Every time I'm working, I know I have to go hard for her because she's been going hard for me."

Henderson will get to work at Notre Dame as a student-athlete in January and participate in spring ball.


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