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Hanratty Follows Father's Footsteps to Notre Dame

Offensive lineman Conor Hanratty spent his high school football career frustrating defenses across Fairfield County. Now the 6-foot-5, 300-pound New Canaan High School senior will take his game to arguably the most famous college football team in America. Hanratty faxed his letter of intent to the University of Notre Dame on Wednesday morning — National Signing Day for college sports recruits.

When school was canceled Wednesday, his signing ceremony was pushed to Thursday. It may have been only ceremonial, but the event carried a lot of emotion for the big lineman. With his parents, coaches and friends around him in the school's auxiliary gym, Hanratty officially became one of the Fighting Irish.

"It means a lot to me, and it means even more that all my friends and family came out," Hanratty said. "I'm very excited, and it's nice to know I can share it with them."

The soft-spoken Hanratty was destined to play for Notre Dame. The son of Terry Hanratty , who led the Fighting Irish to a national championship in 1966, Conor has been grabbing headlines in his four years on the New Canaan High School football team. Despite the familial connection to South Bend, Ind., Conor insisted the decision was his own.

"It means a lot to follow in my father's footsteps, but at the same time it's me branching out and making a name for myself," Hanratty said. "They recruited me because of my football abilities, not because of who my dad is, and that means a lot."

New Canaan High principal Tony Pavia, athletic director Jay Egan, football head coach Lou Marinelli and many of Conor's friends and teammates were on hand for the ceremony. The proudest faces in the crowd were those of his parents.

"I didn't care if he went to Notre Dame or not. I wanted what was right for him," Terry Hanratty said. "We looked at a lot of schools, and it was totally his decision. But I'm very happy he's going there. He's going to get a great education on and off the field."

What do you think of Conor's choice to sign with the Irish? Do you have any words of encouragement for Conor? Make a comment below!

Follow Eric Gendron on Twitter for the latest MSC sports coverage.

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