Blue and Gold Illustrated

December 2019

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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34 DECEMBER 2019 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED PREP PROFILES Notre Dame extended a scholarship offer to Ramon Henderson in May, and the Bakersfield (Calif.) Liberty defen- sive back has been a huge target for the Fighting Irish ever since. The Irish have limited spots left in their 2020 class, but Henderson is the most important — and possibly the only — recruit left on the board. Other schools are pursuing the No. 49 recruit in California, though. He took an official visit to Oklahoma in August and checked out Utah Nov. 15-17. "It was really cool out there; I liked it a lot," the 6-3, 180-pounder said about his Utah visit. "They had a lot to of- fer. My mom and I went out there not expecting that much, but we came out happy. We had a fun time." Henderson officially visited Notre Dame Sept. 27-29, and the feeling com- ing after that visit was that it would be just a matter of time before he would commit to the Irish. However, Hen- derson loved his trip to Utah, and he may take two more official visits before deciding on a school with Tennessee and UCLA on his radar. Henderson plans on announcing a commitment Dec. 17, the day before the early National Signing Day for the 2020 class. He understands that prolonging his decision may force the Irish coaching staff to consider other options. "They've been squeezing on me more," Henderson said about Notre Dame. "They've said to not have too much fun on my trips because they want me at Notre Dame and that they like me a lot. They've been showing love and have been more aggressive. "I've been telling them that I've been holding off for a while. That's how the game is played. If I'm holding off, I wouldn't be mad at them for going and looking at someone else." Henderson is set to graduate early and enroll at his school of choice in January. Recruiting analyst Tom Lem- ming refers to Henderson, a Rivals three-star talent, as one of the most underrated football players in South- ern California. "He really impresses you right off the bat with his blazing speed, in- stincts, timing and anticipation," Lem- ming said. "He, no doubt, has what it takes to play either wide receiver or cornerback at the next level. "He's a rising star who shows the ability to someday dominate." — Mike Singer Pinson (Ala.) Valley's Ga'Quincy McKinstry is ranked as the No. 1 ath- lete in the 2021 class by Rivals, which raises the question: will he play of- fense or defense at the next level? He is an elite talent at both wide receiver and defensive back, and col- leges are giving McKinstry the option to play either side of the ball. "They want me to play what I want to play, but at the next level, I'm going to play defense," the 6-1, 175-pounder stated. "That's where I feel more com- fortable and is the best for me in the long term." McKinstry, who Rivals ranks as the No. 1 recruit in Ala- bama and the No. 32 overall prospect na- tionally, has played a big role in helping Pinson Valley to a 10-2 record and the 6A Alabama state playoff semifinals Nov. 29. His focus has been on his high school team, understandably so. "I'm not really too much into re- cruiting," McKinstry said. "I'm just focusing on my team more than any- thing." Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State and several others have offered McK- instry a scholarship. He insists that he is very open in his recruiting process. "Everybody is basically in the same boat right now," he said. Notre Dame offered McKinstry in March and has kept in communication with him this fall, but the Irish should be considered a long shot to land his commitment. He does have interest in the Irish, and he would like to visit in the offseason to learn more about the program and connection with the coaching staff. "Notre Dame is a good school," he said. "I like the way they play. I got to see them at Georgia, and their secondary looked good." McKinstry recently spoke with the Fighting Irish coaching staff. "They were just checking in on me, asking how I've been playing," he said. McKinstry has been invited to play in the Under All-American Game and the All-American Bowl. "His footwork is outstanding on both sides of the ball," recruiting ana- lyst Tom Lemming said. "He's just a great all-around athlete with the in- stincts and quick-twitch athletic ability that will allow him to play on Sundays within four years." — Mike Singer Notre Dame Is Battling For Top Remaining 2020 Target Nation's Top 2021 Athlete Has Interest In The Irish "Notre Dame is a good school. I like the way they play. I got to see them at Georgia, and their secondary looked good." McKinstry "They've been squeezing on me more. They've said to not have too much fun on my trips because they want me at Notre Dame and that they like me a lot. They've been showing love and have been more aggressive." Henderson on Notre Dame GA'QUINCY MCKINSTRY ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ Pinson Valley H.S. Pinson, Ala. Status: Offered Class: 2021 Position: Athlete Ht.: 6-1 • Wt.: 175 Rivals Rankings: No. 1 player in Alabama, and No. 1 athlete and No. 32 overall player nationally RAMON HENDERSON ✪ ✪ ✪ Liberty H.S. Bakersfield, Calif. Status: Offered Class: 2020 Position: Athlete Ht.: 6-3 • Wt.: 180 Rivals Rankings: No. 49 player in California

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