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Notre Dame 99-to-0: No. 11 Ramon Henderson, sophomore cornerback with sprinter’s speed

Ramon Henderson


Listed measurements: 6-foot-1, 189 pounds.2021-22 year, eligibility: A sophomore, Henderson has all four seasons of eligibility remaining thanks to the universal pandemic eligibility waiver since he played in five games, rather than the customary eligibility-preserving four.Recruiting: Henderson waited until December’s signing period to choose Notre Dame over Utah with Tennessee, Washington and Oklahoma also giving chase. While recruiting rankings may have considered Henderson a three-star prospect, any defensive back pursued by the Huskies deserves the benefit of the doubt.


Henderson played in four blowouts and also appeared on special teams in the excruciating in all aspects 12-7 win against Louisville in mid-October.

When spring practices began, Henderson may have had a chance at earning a starting gig as the boundary cornerback, but junior Cam Hart quickly laid claim to that role. Working behind him, though, Henderson showed enough to alleviate any depth concerns along the sideline.

“Ramon Henderson is coming on,” Irish head coach Brian Kelly said in mid-April. “Both these guys have elite traits. Long, athletic, the ability to play the ball. Both of them were wide receivers. Both have excellent speed. We’re starting to see that growth from Ramon, as well.

“When you line them up, these two look as good as anybody in the country. We’d like to see that continue to progress in a similar fashion for Ramon, be aggressive, go get the ball, turn being a defensive back into an offensive player.”

“A 6-foot-3 athlete able to run sub-10.6 in the 100-meter dash typically projects as a receiver, but Henderson’s ability to read routes makes him a plenty dangerous cornerback, with that size helping him handle physical receivers and that speed allowing him to recover as needed.”

That 6-foot-3 recruiting listing was clearly embellished, but it can be thought of as illustrative of Henderson’s wingspan. He is a long 6-foot-1 and a fast 6-foot-1. Anyone able to crack 10.6 seconds in the 100-meter dash warrants notice as a speed threat, and combining that with his length should give Henderson more defensive opportunities this season.

But his most likely contributions will come on special teams. Special teams coordinator Brian Polian needs to revamp most of his units simply due to roster churn, and Henderson’s profile would fit well on punt and kickoff coverages.

Backing up Hart will eventually lead to at least a few series of work for Henderson, at the absolute least, be it via a tough hit or getting burned on an off day. These are the tribulations of all cornerbacks, and why depth there is so vital.

DOWN THE ROADHart has plenty of time ahead of him, just as much as Henderson does. The same goes for sophomore Clarence Lewis, the field side starter. And in come a quartet of freshman cornerbacks.

After barely filling a depth chart for so many years due to a 2017 recruiting gaffe, Notre Dame may finally have cornerback depth. The obvious and inevitable flip side of that is players with physical traits like Henderson have to wait and work for playing time.

His length and speed will get Henderson on the field eventually, but he may need to wait for Hart to shine enough to jump to the next level, or simply leapfrog him.

Let’s try this again
No. 99 Rylie Mills, sophomore defensive tackle
No. 98 Alexander Ehrensberger, sophomore defensive end
No. 97 Gabriel Rubio, early-enrolled freshman defensive tackle the size of a Volkswagen
No. 95 Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, fifth-year defensive tackle-turned-end
No. 92 Aidan Keanaaina, sophomore defensive tackle
No. 91 Joshua Bryan, incoming freshman kicker
No. 88 Mitchell Evans, early-enrolled freshman tight end, a former high school quarterback
No. 87 Michael Mayer, star sophomore tight end and lead offensive weapon
No. 85 George Takacs, senior tight end, ‘152 years old’
No. 84 Kevin Bauman, sophomore tight end
No. 83 Jayden Thomas, freshman receiver, four-star prospect out of Georgia
No. 82 Xavier Watts, sophomore receiver
No. 81 Jay Brunelle, speedy sophomore receiver
No. 80 Cane Berrong, early-enrolled freshman tight end
No. 79 Tosh Baker, sophomore offensive tackle
No. 78 Pat Coogan, incoming freshman center
No. 77 Quinn Carroll, junior offensive lineman
No. 76 Joe Alt, incoming and towering freshman offensive lineman
No. 75 Josh Lugg, fifth-year right tackle, finally a starter
No. 73 Andrew Kristofic, junior offensive tackle, possible backup center
No. 72 Caleb Johnson, early-enrolled offensive tackle, former Auburn commit
No. 70 Hunter Spears, junior offensive guard, former defensive tackle
No. 68 Michael Carmody, sophomore offensive tackle
No. 62 Marshall guard Cain Madden transfers to Notre Dame, likely 2021 starter
No. 57 Jayson Ademilola, senior defensive tackle
No. 56 John Dirksen, senior reserve offensive lineman
No. 56 Howard Cross, junior defensive tackle
No. 55 Jarrett Patterson, the best Irish offensive lineman
No. 55 Kahanu Kia, freshman linebacker, Hawaiian, LDS member
No. 54 Jacob Lacey, junior defensive tackle
No. 54 Blake Fisher, early-enrolled freshman left tackle, starter?
No. 52 Zeke Correll, junior, starting center
No. 52 Bo Bauer, senior linebacker, #BeADog
No. 50 Rocco Spindler, early-enrolled freshman offensive guard
No. 48 Will Schweitzer, early-enrolled freshman defensive end
No. 47 Jason Onye, incoming and raw freshman defensive end
No. 44 Devin Aupiu, early-enrolled freshman defensive end
No. 44 Alex Peitsch and No. 65 Michael Vinson, Irish long snappers, both needed
No. 41 Kurt Hinish, fifth-year defensive tackle, eventual record-holder in games played
No. 40 Drew White, fifth-year linebacker, three-year starter
No. 39 Jonathan Doerer, fifth-year kicker, using the pandemic exception
No. 35 Marist Liufau, junior Hawaiian linebacker
No. 34 Osita Ekwonu, junior defensive end
No. 33 Shayne Simon, senior linebacker
No. 32 Prince Kollie, freshman linebacker, Butkus Award winner
No. 29 Matt Salerno, senior punt returner, walk-on
No. 29 Khari Gee, freshman safety, former LSU commit
No. 28 TaRiq Bracy, senior cornerback, possible nickel back
No. 27 JD Bertrand, junior linebacker
No. 26 Clarence Lewis, sophomore cornerback, second-year starter
No. 25 Philip Riley, early-enrolled freshman cornerback
No. 25 Chris Tyree, speedy sophomore running back
No. 24 Jack Kiser, junior linebacker, onetime pandemic hero
No. 24 Audric Estime, freshman running back, former Michigan State commit, four-star
No. 23 Litchfield Ajavon, junior safety
No. 23 Kyren Williams, junior running back
No. 22 Logan Diggs, incoming freshman running back
No. 21 Lorenzo Styles, early-enrolled freshman receiver
No. 21 Caleb Offord, sophomore cornerback
No. 20 C’Bo Flemister, senior running back, coming off an offseason with a smirch
No. 20 Justin Walters, early-enrolled freshman safety and likely early special teams contributor
No. 20 JoJo Johnson, freshman cornerback, former Cincinnati commit
No. 19 Jay Bramblett, junior punter
No. 19 Justin Ademilola, senior defensive end
No. 18 Joe Wilkins Jr., senior receiver, team favorite
No. 18 Nana Osafo-Mensah, junior defensive end, coming back from a knee injury
No. 18 Chance Tucker, freshman cornerback
No. 17 Jack Coan, graduate quarterback, Wisconsin transfer
No. 17 Jordan Botelho, sophomore defensive end, full-speed at all times
No. 16 Deion Colzie, incoming freshman receiver with both speed and leaping height
No. 16 KJ Wallace, junior safety, possible starting nickel back
No. 15 Ryan Barnes, early-enrolled freshman cornerback
No. 14 Kyle Hamilton, junior safety, preseason All-American, top 2022 draft prospect
No. 13 Paul Moala, senior linebacker coming off an Achilles injury
No. 13 Lawrence Keys, senior receiver
No. 12 Tyler Buchner, early-enrolled freshman quarterback, former four-star recruit
No. 12 DJ Brown, senior safety mired in a starting competition
No. 11 Ron Powlus III, early-enrolled freshman quarterback

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