Oct. 14, 2005
Junior offensive lineman Ryan Harris is in his third season as a starter on the Notre Dame offensive line, having started 25 consecutive games coming into the USC game this afternoon. The talented blocker was voted the team’s offensive lineman of the year as a sophomore, earning Westwood One/Guardian Life Insurance Guardian of the Year Award. Harris made eight starts as a freshman at right tackle and has now made 17 consecutive starts at left tackle. He was a first-team USA Today All-American as a senior at Cretin Derham High School and was all-metro and all-state in 2001 and 2002. At Notre Dame he is majoring in economics and political science in the College of Arts and Letters. GameDay Magazine’s Gary Paczesny gives Irish fans a chance to get to know Ryan Harris.
Paczesny: What is your major and how did you get interested in that area of study?
Harris: I’m a political science and economics major. I really enjoy politics and I think that economics is a great way to understand the business world and set yourself up for getting a job after school.
Paczesny: What is your favorite class and why?
Harris: My favorite class has to be Islamic Challenge in Christianity.
Paczesny: What made you pick Notre Dame over the other schools you were interested in? What were the other schools?
Harris: I chose Notre Dame because of the high competition in both the classroom and on the football field. I chose Notre Dame over Michigan, Miami and USC.
Paczesny: To date, what has been the highlight of your Notre Dame career?
Harris: So far the highlight of my career has been beating Michigan, 28-20, last season at home.
Paczesny: Who were your sports idols as a kid and why?
Harris: Growing up in Minnesota, you had to love Kirby Puckett with the Twins. He was the man along with every kid’s hero Michael Jordan.
Paczesny: Who has been your biggest non-sports role model and why?
Harris: My biggest non-sports role models would have to be my parents, especially my father.
Paczesny: What is one thing in your life that you cannot live without?
Harris: I can’t live without my family.
Paczesny: What is the best advice that you have ever been given and who gave it to you?
Harris: The best advice I’ve been given came from my parents. They told me that there are two words that you need to learn – hard and work. They are interchangeable. Always work hard and it takes hard work to accomplish goals.
Paczesny: How do you think you’ve grown as a person since coming to Notre Dame?
Harris: Since coming to Notre Dame, I’ve learned a lot about academics. I’ve also grown more responsible in my first two years here.
Paczesny: What is one thing about you that might surprise people?
Harris: One thing that might surprise people is that I love to speak Spanish and I always try to speak to other students from Spanish-speaking countries.
Paczesny: If you were stranded on an island and could only eat one meal, only listen to one song, and spend your time with only one person; what would you eat, what would you listen to and who would you pick?
Harris: If I were stranded on an island I would want to eat chicken wings. I would listen to Earth, Wind and Fire and I would like to spend time with my younger sister, Kendra.
Paczesny: Where is the toughest place that you’ve played as a college football player?
Harris: The toughest place to play, hands down is Tennessee. It is so loud there, it’s like someone is beating a drum right next to your ear.
Paczesny: What would a movie about your life be titled and who would star as you?
Harris: The movie would be titled “Bigger Than Usual,” and Will Smith would star as me.
Paczesny: If you had the chance to play golf with anyone in history, besides you, who else would be in your foursome and why would you, pick those three people?
Harris: I would like to play golf with President John F. Kennedy, Cedric the Entertainer and Tiger Woods. This would be a blast because I would have someone to talk politics with, someone to make us laugh and someone to show us up.
Paczesny: Describe what it feels like on game day and playing at Notre Dame Stadium.
Harris: There are really no words in the English dictionary to describe the experience or to explain the feeling entering the stadium with the best fans. As you hit the sign “Play Like a Champion Today” you are not only playing to win and playing for your teammates, you are playing for every one that has gone before you and as you see the “champion” part of the sign you focus on that and go 110% on every play.
Paczesny: What is your favorite thing about playing for Notre Dame?
Harris: I love the competition here at Notre Dame. We go against the best every year and the fans are always behind us. We open up against the best teams, every team wants to beat us, so that just means we have to be on top of our game every week.