Iain Henderson has committed himself to Ulster until June 2015.
The Irish Under 20s forward — equally comfortable at lock or in the back row — has had his development contract upgraded.
Henderson, who first came to prominence in the colours of Belfast Royal Academy, has played in the past two IRB Junior World Championships, excelling in last summer’s South African-hosted tournament.
He made his senior debut for Ulster in their RaboDirect PRO12 defeat by Connacht in Galway back in April when he entered the fray as a replacement.
Three weeks later came his first start against Munster at Thomond Park where his excellent try was the highlight of an otherwise bleak night for the visitors. On September 28 he shone again in Ulster’s 48-19 rout of Cardiff at the Arms Park.
“I’m delighted to have signed a new contract with Ulster. I’ve dreamed of being a professional with my home province and it’s fantastic that it’s come to fruition,” 20-year-old Henderson said.
“I’ve learnt a great deal from the coaching staff and senior players here and I can’t wait to continue my development at Ravenhill.
“There’s a lot of competition in the squad, particularly in the back row, but I want to try and get as many games as possible under my belt.”
Ulster Director of Rugby David Humpreys said: “Iain is one of the brightest young players in Ireland.
“The exciting thing for us is that he will only get better.”