Can Ramon Henderson break into a 2021 cornerback rotation currently expected to feature Clarence Lewis, Cam Hart, and TaRiq Bracy?
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have a roster full of players, and we want to talk about them all. One Foot Down’s player profile series will, once again, take a look at every single one of them, and hopefully we all learn a little bit more about these guys, and Notre Dame’s chances for the upcoming 2021 season.
#11 Ramon Henderson, CB
Ramon Henderson is still a bit of an unknown to Irish fans, as he’ll just be a sophomore for the 2021 season and saw very limited playing time in his inaugural year in a gold helmet.
The 6’1”, 189-lb former 3-star “athlete” from Bakersfield, California was not highly rated within his 2020 class, but did manage to pick up some other very strong offers apart from Notre Dame, including Oklahoma, Tennessee, and a slew of Pac 12 teams (Washington, Utah, Washington State, UCLA, Oregon State, Cal). He was rated 616th overall by the 247sports composite rankings and the #34 “athlete” in the country when he enrolled early in the second semester of 2020.
Unlike fellow freshman cornerback Clarence Lewis, who eventually earned a starting role within a CFP defense, Henderson had a much more typical rookie season. He appeared in 5 games in 2020 — USF, FSU, Louisville, Pitt, and Syracuse — 4 of which were complete blowouts. He did not register any statistics in those appearances.
THE RESTAURANT THAT FITS
I’m gonna go with Wingstop for my guy Ramon. At 6’1”, he’s got a solid WINGspan that most corners don’t have, and as a cornerback, obviously his job is to STOP opposing wide receivers from catching the ball.
Furthermore, Ramon was a very fast track athlete in high school and still brings that speed to the table for the Irish — and I can attest to the fact that whenever I go on Uber Eats and decide to order enough Wingstop for 5 people and eat it all myself (and then subsequently take a nap), the delivery time is usually pretty fast for the sheer volume of wings and Louisiana Voodoo Fries I tossed into my cart. So this one makes sense from end-to-end.
Henderson was likely always considered a long-term development project at corner, and so I think 2021 will continue to be a year of growth for him as he mainly provides depth at the position and probably gets pretty involved in special teams.
Clarence Lewis and Cam Hart are currently the frontrunners to man the Field and Boundary cornerback positions, respectively, with TaRiq Bracy likely to be just behind Lewis in the Field spot. That leaves Henderson to probably be the #2 or #3 guy behind Hart at the Boundary spot, with his main competition for backup being some of the freshmen from the class of 2021, like Philip Riley and Ryan Barnes.
Hopefully, Henderson will continue to grow this coming season, perhaps earn some occasional PT in real game situations, and then if Bracy moves on upon his graduation, perhaps find a more solid role in the corner rotation alongside Lewis, Hart, and whoever among this batch of freshmen emerges as an early contender for minutes.