The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.


senior day 2023

Hakim Sanfo’s Notre Dame experience has been ‘a beautiful story’

| Friday, November 17, 2023

Notre Dame Athletics
Senior tight end Hakim Sanfo enters the Aviva Stadium field before Notre Dame’s game against Navy in Dublin, Ireland, on Aug. 26.

Senior tight end Hakim Sanfo didn’t take the standard route of the Notre Dame football player. The typical Notre Dame football recruit is treated like royalty throughout the recruiting process. Starting in high school, they are simply bigger and better than most in their high school community. They will go on a visit, try on the gold helmet and take a photoshoot in the uniform. Sanfo, however, was a walk-on. While an amazing talent at Mount Vernon High School in Alexandria, Virginia, he didn’t have all the glitz and glamor of a typical Notre Dame recruit. Because he didn’t walk on the team until the beginning of his sophomore year, Sanfo’s path started out like that of a typical Notre Dame student.

Formerly a resident of Morrissey Manor and currently studying science-business, Sanfo decided he wanted to play for the Irish football team his sophomore year. After going through the walk-on process, he made the team. 

“Every day, waking up with a purpose, with a mindset to come out here to compete, and be the best I can be, and make my teammates the best they can be,” Sanfo said of the walk-on process.

Being a walk-on is no easy task. To the average person, the task of being on the Notre Dame football team without a scholarship or clear path to starting can seem like a burden. However, Sanfo doesn’t feel that way at all.

“I’ve learned so many valuable skills that you just can’t be taught … Playing football at Notre Dame gives you that unique experience,” Sanfo said.

This Saturday will be Sanfo’s last time running out of the tunnel as the smoke blasts and the Victory March plays. 

“It is a blessing, and I want to value it as long as I can,” Sanfo said.

After graduation, Sanfo will work at Bank of America doing equity research. However, he is uncertain of his long-term future as he considers going back to school for his master’s degree in global health.

If there is one takeaway about Sanfo, it’s his attitude. As a walk-on riddled with the demands of an elite school and football program, he strives to always be grateful. He continually describes Notre Dame and his experience as “a blessing.” Sanfo summed up his memories on the football team and at Notre Dame.

“The good and the bad combined makes it so memorable, the highs and the lows, and it becomes a beautiful story,” he said.

Tags: , , ,

About Ryan Eastland

Contact Ryan