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irish insider

Henry focuses on more than just football

| Friday, November 9, 2018

Senior quarterback Nolan Henry is no stranger to success. The Vancouver, Washington native was a “typical” high school football standout, holding multiple records for passing yards, touchdowns and completion percentage. In 2014, he was the male recipient of the Wendy’s High School Heisman.

“In high school I was lucky to play on a pretty solid high school team and have a lot of success there. And the Heisman part … was based off of academics, community service and performance on the field, and so I was really blessed to win that award,” Henry said.

Despite his individual success, he is still humble and thankful to others for allowing him to be successful.

Eddie Griesedieck
Irish senior quarterback Nolan Henry jogs off the field during Notre Dame’s 56-27 victory over Wake Forest on Sept. 22.

“I was really lucky in high school to have a great team with a lot of great coaches and so I can thank a lot of them for getting me where I am today,” he said.

As the Heisman award would suggest, Henry was not just a terrific athlete, he was also an AP scholar and a member of the national honor society. But what set him above other great high-school athletes was his service, not only in his community, but halfway across the world.

“In high school I did a couple of different things. We ran a football food drive at [the Clark County youth football] jamboree every single year, for six years, raised over 300,000 pounds of food for southwest Washington. And then … in Liberia, Africa, we went to a village in Kamara Town, worked on their agricultural sustainability, and then also built a sport court for multi-purpose sports,” Henry said.

That service is an impressive part of his resume and is a large part of why Henry is where he is today. Despite being an outstanding athlete, as so many football players do, he fell victim to injury.

“My senior year I had a pretty tough concussion that knocked me unconscious, so a lot of the other opportunities I had were kind of dwindling a little bit, because my future in football was kinda unclear at the time,” he said.

Luckily, Henry had his other strengths to fall back on, which still allowed him to get admitted to Notre Dame.

“Notre Dame has always kinds been a dream school for me growing up,” Henry said. “I got in here early action, just on my own merit, and then the football team contacted me to play football here as a walk-on, so, you know, best decision I ever made.”

He even admits that his injury, as terrible as it was, is partly responsible for that decision.

“[I] never like to say that my injury was the reason that got me this opportunity, but I don’t know if I would’ve ended up here if it weren’t the case,” he said.

Henry is a science business major and is weighing his options for the future, currently interviewing for a position in the medical-technology field while keeping his redshirt year of eligibility in his pocket. He said that his favorite memory was the first time he walked out of the tunnel against Texas his freshman year, “seeing the fans and the full 80,000 people in the stadium.” He also described what being a Notre Dame walk-on is like from his experience.

“At Notre Dame, they really appreciate the work the guys do here … you’re appreciated and you’re doing something that’s going to help the team. And, in the end, a lot of walk-ons get great opportunities … For me, this year, I was lucky enough to become the holder a couple of weeks ago. If you do your work and get everything done for the team, then you’ll have opportunities, which is a nice thing in this program.”

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About Hayden Adams

Hayden is the former sports editor of The Observer. When he's not working toward his four majors (physics and film, television & theatre) and three minors (journalism, ethics & democracy), you can probably find him hopelessly trying to save his beloved Zahm House from being wiped out. He plans to attend law school at a TBD location after graduation.

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