A schedule packed with Saturday games has made it difficult for James Hendren to get to any college football games this fall, but the 2014 Massachusetts offensive lineman will be at the Notre Dame-Boston College game this weekend and although it won’t be a Notre Dame home game, he wanted to make sure Irish assistant Bob Diaco knew.
“I just wanted to let him know that I will be at the B.C. game,” the 6-foot-7, 300-pounder from Dexter School in Brookline, Mass. “He was happy that I’d be able to see them in action at least.”
Hendren is excited about the opportunity.
“Even though B.C. isn’t at the level they’ve been at in past years right now, it’s the Holy War, so the competition will be a lot of fun to watch,” he said. “It will probably be the most physical game on B.C.’s schedule, so that will be fun to be at and playing in front of a big, big audience, they’ll probably come out to play.”
He may not have been able to get out to see Notre Dame in South Bend this year, but he's been paying attention.
“I don’t think there’s a whole lot of bad to see,” he said. “They actually have had some issues in parts of the game. The quarterback situation sometimes seems a little bit frantic and they have some other kinks, but what’s amazing is that no matter what spot might not be playing to the Notre Dame level, every other one is surpassing it and making up for it.
“Obviously the guy everyone looks to is (Manti) Te’o, but the defensive line is playing out of their mind right now. I’ve been watching. That’s obviously been the most impressive part, how they’ve been performing against the best schedule in college football.”
Hendren is still waiting for his first offer, but has been receiving serious interest from the Irish along with Boston College, Duke, Stanford, Michigan, Virginia, Wisconsin and Northwestern since before the start of his junior season.
“All of the other schools are coming along,” he said. “Most are in the same place, waiting to do all of the evaluations. I’ve heard from a few new schools recently, but I’m mostly sticking with the old crowd of very good academic schools that have good football.”
He’s excited about finishing up his junior highlight film and getting it out to college staffs.
“They’ll see the smartest player on the field and they won’t see any mistakes,” said Hendren. “I’ve become a little bit less selfish. Last year on film, you see a lot of good blocks, but you see sometimes just taking him to the ground immediately. Even though it looks good for you, it might actually be an obstacle.
“This year I’m trying to take them more out of the way, do my job first and then finish the way I know how to. Some schools might like that, some might not, but whatever school or schools do, they’ll like it a lot.”
The junior offensive lineman wants to get to South Bend at some point and Diaco wants him to get there too.
“I’m trying to figure out a way to get up there,” he said. “It’s a priority for me. They want me to come out. He’ll be by my school and I’m in a good spot I think.”
He’s talked about making it to Notre Dame for camp this coming summer, but doesn’t want to wait that long.
“I’m going to try to get up there before that,” said Hendren. “Hopefully I can get a bunch of offers in the offering season and hopefully make a decision this spring.”
Hendren will be making another visit later this month.
“I’m going to be in Minnesota for Thanksgiving and I’m going down to see Northwestern,” he said. “Obviously I would have made Notre Dame a priority had they been playing at home that week.”