Notre Dame needed a top-level quarterback to build depth at the position and the Notre Dame coaching staff got a boost this week, when Andrew Hendrix (6-3, 220-pounds) committed to the Irish.
"The Notre Dame and Ohio State offers were pretty incredible and really turned everything on its head," Hendrix said as he described the events leading up to his commitment. "The Ohio State offer came first, that was definitely a top-level consideration from the get-go. I know what an Ohio State offer means. I was really looking forward to going up there and seeing everything, but before I got up there, I got the Notre Dame offer.
"In my mind, it immediately shot them to the top because it's a school that would really fit with Moeller, being a Catholic school with great academics and a great football tradition. Moeller used to be a pipeline into Notre Dame. I definitely could see myself going to college there.
"After my first visit to Notre Dame, I loved it," Handrix said. "The minute I saw it I really felt that it was the place to be. I still wanted to go up to Ohio State, because I wanted to make an informed decision. I'd been to Ohio State before, but I wasn't a recruit at that time."
Hendrix enjoyed his unofficial visit to Columbus, but the Irish were still very much on his mind. After speaking with the coaches, Andrew was able to make a visit one Tuesday.
"I still had Notre Dame at the top of my list, but I still wanted to see Notre Dame one more time when the players were there," Hendrix recalled. "So I called coach Powlus and he said I could come up and hang with Kyle Rudolph and Dayne Crist because they were both in, along with Alex Welch. I really wanted to get up there, and the only thing that was keeping me from committing was just seeing how the attitude of the team was, and how they worked together.
"When I finally got up there everyone made me feel at home. Dayne Crist really did a great job of making me feel a part of the team. Some people were asking for autographs and they had me sign the football they were passing around and I wasn't even committed yet.
"The next day I talked with coach Weis," Hendrix explained. "He knew that I was ready to commit, but he said that I hadn't even spoken with my parents yet. So I met up with my mom at the hotel we were staying at and she had already gotten the Notre Dame hat, the shirt and everything, because she thought that I was going to commit. That's the point when I just said, ‘let's get this thing done', so I gave coach Weis a call. He was really excited about it, and I think he knew it was coming, but to have it done, and the fact that they needed a quarterback in this class, it was a breath of fresh air for them. For me it was as well. It's been a long process, and to finally know where I'm going to school, and being able to concentrate on my high school team and winning a state football championship, it's something that I'm really excited about now.
Depending on the length of Jimmy Clausen's career, the Irish might need to get Hendrix some game experience during his first season at Notre Dame. The question is whether Andrew would prefer to red-shirt during his first season or gain the valuable playing experience.
"I wouldn't mind either way," he said. "It really depends on how my senior season goes. I think I'll make some great strides because last year was my first year playing competitively throwing the football they way a high school quarterback would. There's a lot for me to learn. I think I've made some great strides, but I'm nowhere near where I need to be in order to take Notre Dame to a national championship as a freshman. I'm not saying that I can't get there, but I need a lot of work to get there. I'd rather red-shirt, but I'm going to work hard and go all out to be that guy. I'm going to work hard to get that job when it's available.
"I do understand the game so much more now since I've spent so much time in the film room with my coach and some other players. In the past, I'd go up to the line and sit on receivers, but now I really understand what I can do with the ball. I think that work will pay off and you'll see it on the field in the stats, and in how our team does this year.