Arizona State hosted its first official visitors of the football season last weekend and Costa Mesa, California, Orange Coast College rush end/outside linebacker Preston Hendry was one of two recruits on campus for the occasion. It was Hendry's first time in Tempe.
"I really liked it out there," Hendry said. "Coming from California, there's so much going on out here. I don't really know if I'd want to go to a small college town. I really like how upbeat it is there in Tempe and how there's a lot to do. It's just a good vibe, it feel like home."
A 6-foot-5, 225 pound defensive end, Hendry has been talking with the Sun Devils since April and said he eventually was offered a scholarship in July.
"I started talking to (defensive line coach Joe) Seumalo during spring break," Hendry said. "He said he really liked my film and we've been talking for at least four months. I have a great relationship with them, coach Seumalo and also (outside linebackers coach Shawn) Slocum. I've enjoyed building that with them since my spring break really."
Hendy was hosted on his ASU visit by junior offensive lineman Alex Losoya, who played at Orange Coast College last year.
"They're recruiting me to play the Devil backer position," Hendry said. "Stand up, outside, rush the quarterback, maybe drop every once in a while depending on what the scheme is. I'm really looking forward to that and showing my athleticism more. I've been playing in a true 4-3, hand in the ground, the last couple years."
Though he met Todd Graham, Hendry said he didn't get to sit down and have an in-depth conversation with the head coach due to how busy things were during the game weekend and some logistical issues. He would like to take another visit to ASU unofficially to spend additional time with Graham and other staff members.
With 11 or 12 reported offers, Hendry said his focus has been on the Pac-12, where the Sun Devils have been joined by Washington State with a scholarship offer. Unsurprisingly, Hendry said those are his two current favorite programs.
"It's been my dream ever since I started playing football and to even try to have aspirations of playing in college, I want to play in the Pac-12," Hendry said. "Growing up in California, that's like where it's at out here. I want to play in the Pac-12. I know people at every team and school. So I'm really kind of narrowing it down to ASU and Washington State and keeping San Diego State in my back pocket because it's close to home and I have that option. Colorado has been talking with me a bunch too."
Baylor, Colorado State, Iowa State, Kansas State, San Diego State and Syracuse are some of the other schools to have extended a scholarship offer, according to Hendry.
Hendry prepped at Tesoro High School, where former Sun Devils Evan Finkenberg, Sil Ajawara and Sean O'Grady played. He played wide receiver his first three years of high school and only moved to defensive end as a senior, where he was a back up at just 190 pounds.
"I was never recruited in high school, didn't have any stars, nothing," Hendry said. "I had to go the junior college path to make it happen. I gained about 20 pounds to play last year at 210 pounds as a freshman, and got up to 235 this off-season before losing about 10 pounds during as we got the season going. It's hard to keep your weight up and I am the type of guy who eats a lot and still has a hard time."
In the next month or so Hendry is planning to see if any other schools offer a scholarship and then visit Washington State and maybe additional schools before making a college decision. He's not going to graduate until the spring, so he expects to sign in February. Before then, he's focused on helping his team and won't be taking more in-season trips.
"We're doing alright, w've had a tough preseason," he said. "We're 2-3 right now. the season is getting a little tough. I've had some minor injuries, sprained wrist, broken finger. So I'm playing through those but we just had a bye week and that helped and I'm feeling really healthy and had a great game last week. I think we'll be rolling into league and try to compete and get a ring for league."