After creating a buzz among the Notre Dame coaching staff with his size at last year‘s game, Conor Hanratty was back in South Bend a little over a week ago for the Blue-Gold scrimmage the weekend of April 18th. This time he was there as a full-fledged recruit.
"I've probably gone to the last five or six spring games, and it was so much more special to be there as a recruit," the 6-foot-5, 295-pound offensive tackle said. He is the son of former Notre Dame All-American quarterback Terry Hanratty.
"I used to look over and see the recruits sitting there and having fun. I wish I would've had more time with the coaches, but I respect that the day was more of a junior thing, and I'm a sophomore."
Conor Hanratty's day in the sun will come soon enough.
Already holding a verbal scholarship offer from Boston College, the New Canaan (Conn.) High star is hearing from several other college programs including Notre Dame. An Irish assistant coach will be by his school sometime over the next four weeks, during the spring evaluation period.
"It's really something strange, because that means it's definitely a possibility I could be playing there," Hanratty said. "Growing up, knowing not many people go Division-I from my area, and it's always been a dream of mine to play college football, now that I've been there as a recruit, it's really something in my grasp."
Though Notre Dame has always been a favorite of Hanratty's, he says he's not like Mike or Jake Golic, whom verbally committed to the Irish on the spot, when their father's alma-mater extended a scholarship offer. Hanratty doesn't see himself doing the same thing.
"I've loved Notre Dame for so many years, and everyone is asking if I'm going to follow in my Dad's footsteps and yadi, yadi yada, and that'd be a great thing to do, but I don't really know if I'm meant to go there. My Dad was meant to go there. It's a good possibility that I am too, but I'm keeping my options open."
As a sophomore, Hanratty helped lead his team to a 13-0 record and a state championship. He didn't begin to lift weights until recently, and plans to hit the camp circuit this summer to visit campuses and evaluate college programs. Hanratty is also hoping to pick up a few more scholarship offers.
"This is going to be an interesting process, because this summer we're going to Boston College's camp, and the Notre Dame camp in late June, and then we're going up to Wisconsin to meet with Barry Alvarez and his coaching staff, and then we're going over to Northwestern," the elder Hanratty said. "I want to get down to Vanderbilt, Florida and South Carolina too.
"Conor could probably give a Notre Dame tour. There is probably not much, people could show him there. The only thing he needs to know more about now, is the coaching staff. He's gotten a chance to meet and talk with coach (Charlie) Weis once. We don't know much about (offensive line) coach (Frank) Verducci because he's new."
On his most recent visit, Hanratty arrived in South Bend late Thursday night and stayed thru Sunday.
"We had Friday to walk around and visit a few people," Hanratty said. "On Saturday was when the real recruiting business began, and then we left Sunday, so I had a good weekend there."
"Thank god the weather was great, and it was good to see a lot of buddies," the elder Hanratty said. "It's always great to be back there."