WC’s Henderson out to prove D-I coaches wrong

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 19, 2001

[06/15/01] When Thad Henderson was passed over by Division I-A schools, he never really understood why.

Sure, they told him he was too short even though he’s listed at 6-foot-2, 280 pounds. Sure, they told him he wouldn’t dominate the line of scrimmage in college even though he was an all-state pick. But now, after seeing the rest of the best Mississippi has to offer, the former Warren Central star who signed with Divison I-AA Samford is really steamed.

“A lot of them, I’m just as good as or better than. I just didn’t get the chances that they’re going to get,” Henderson said of his teammates for Saturday’s Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game in Mobile. “But I’ll make the most of the chance I’m getting. Go Bulldogs!”

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Most of the players in the game, which will be televised nationally, have signed with Southeastern Conference schools. The Mississippi team alone has 10 Ole Miss signees.

But that was done months ago, so it’s not hunger to get noticed that’s driving Henderson it’s more like a thirst for respect.

“I need to make sure everybody stands up and takes notice. I need to show out,” Henderson said, adding that he’ll turn his game up a notch for the national TV audience h. “I think it’ll get the adrenaline pumping.”

If his play doesn’t make him stand out, his footwear might. The teams will wear all-star uniforms, but Henderson will represent WC by wearing his red cleats.

“I’m wearing the red cleats. I’m going to turn them loose,” he said with a laugh.

And the cleats should get plenty of mileage put on them in their owner’s last go-around as a high school player. As one of only six defensive linemen and one of only three interior linemen chosen to the squad, Henderson expects to start and see plenty of time at noseguard and nose tackle.

He also expects his quickness to be an asset against Alabama’s big offensive line.

WC coach Robert Morgan is the team’s administrative coach.

“They’ve got some pretty big boys. They’re going to outweigh us and outsize us, but we’re going to outquick them,” Henderson said. “Don’t get me wrong, we’re pretty strong ourselves, but we’re going to try to outquick them.”