Hanratty Causes A Stir

Back in April, at Notre Dame's 2008 spring game, a buzz was in the air. Cierre Wood and Tyler Stockton had given head coach Charlie Weis their verbal commitments that weekend, and Irish fans were going to get a chance to see their team scrimmage for four quarters.

Something else caused a stir among the Notre Dame coaching staff.

Conor Hanratty.

"They were basically saying, for my size and age, it's scary," the 6-foot-4 ½, 295-pound right tackle from New Canaan (Conn.) High said.

And that was late in Hanratty's freshman year.

The son of former Notre Dame All-American quarterback Terry Hanratty, Conor is one of the first prospects to jump on Notre Dame's radar in the class-of-2011. This past season, Hanratty helped lead his team to a 13-0 record and a state championship.

National recruiting analyst Tom Lemming thinks so highly of Hanratty, that he invited him down to San Antonio the first week of January for the National Underclassmen Combine, an event showcasing the nation's top juniors.

Hanratty more than held his own.

"It was a great experience," Hanratty said. "I learned a lot from it. It was real fun.

"I learned about where I stand among the top juniors and all, and the competition I'll be facing."

The one-on-one drills against the defensive linemen, was the most fun part to Hanratty.

"I was trying to mix it up and get in there whenever I could so I could get noticed and all," he said.

Places like Notre Dame and Maryland noticed Hanratty a lot sooner than earlier this month.

When Hanratty got back home from Texas, Irish assistant coach Ron Powlus dropped by the school. A coach from Syracuse also came by.

With his roots, Hanratty is obviously impressed by what Notre Dame has to offer. South Bend feels like a home away from home for him.

"You could definitely say that," Hanratty said. "I've been there so many times, and I've grown up around the school having my dad's legacy and all that.

"Notre Dame is a great school, but I'm trying to keep everything even now. Nothing is set obviously. I'm trying to keep my head level."

Hanratty has a 3.2 GPA. He camped at Maryland last summer, and he plans on camping at Notre Dame this summer, whether that's with his team, or as an individual.

This year, Hanratty has decided to pass on playing basketball and baseball, choosing to focus on getting bigger and stronger to help his team repeat as state champions next fall.

His father has also hired one of the best coaches around to coach his kid. Soon, the younger Hanratty will start working with Dan Radakovich. A former NFL football player, Radakovich has 48 years of collegiate and professional coaching experience, including a stop in Pittsburgh, where he coached the offensive line on multiple Super Bowl winning teams.

"It's very exciting," Hanratty said. "He's one of the most prestigious offensive line coaches around. It's a real honor to work with someone like that."

Very early in the recruiting process for Hanratty, things are pretty quiet, but check back around this time in a year, and the stir will be a full-blown buzz.

IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories