While junior quarterback Kodi Burns may have been the most electrifying junior football player in the state this past season, there was a very large young man on that same team who had his back and drew praise for doing so.
He's continue to do the same on the basketball court.
That's one Paul Henry (6-7, 260), an offensive lineman for the Grizzlies who is also one of the state's best junior gridiron prospects and got an offer from the University of Arkansas on Feb. 25th.
"We try our best to keep people from getting anywhere near him," Henry said. "I think we did a pretty good job of it this (past) season."
Arkansas, Ole Miss and Texas A&M are among the teams that have already showed interest in Henry, who has plans to attend at least one of the Razorbacks' two summer camps.
"I have got really good feelings about Arkansas," Henry said. "(UA offensive coordinator) Coach (Gus) Malzahn is recruiting me and I am really interested in them."
Henry joined with fellow junior Alex Burton (6-1, 295), another standout junior offensive lineman, to head up the protection for Burns season in a 8-5 season that ended in a 17-14 loss to West Memphis in the Class AAAAA state playoff semifinals.
"Paul is a really big guy that is a great blocker and all those guys did a great job up front this season," Burns said. "I think that is going to be one of the strongest parts of our team next season."
Northside head coach Darrell Henry has enjoyed watching Henry's development the past two seasons.
"He's got real good feet and really good hands," Henry said, "He has made as much improvement over the past year as anyone on our football team and it's been a joy to watch where he has come from to where he is now. We played him at tackle and he did an excellent job for us this year. Coaches love that size and speed."
The entire starting offensive line - Henry, Burton, sophomore Austin Eeoff (6-4, 304) and juniors Xavier Williams and Josh Mickle - is slated to return for Northside, who many expect to be the top-ranked prep team in the state heading into the 2006 season.
"All of the linemen are coming back and we are going to be real good on offense," Henry said. "We are also going to have a pretty good defense. I think we are going to have a great team."
Henry has showed his nimbleness on the basketball court this season and he and Northside will be playing in the Class AAAAA state tournament this week in Little Rock.
Thr Grizzlies will battle Forrest City on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at UALR's Jack Stephens Center.
Henry plans to finish up his basketball season and then hit the offseason conditioning program.
"I feel good about my offensive line play, but know I can get better," Henry said. "I've got to work on my footwork and my speed. I do feel good about my run blocking and my pass protection, but want to keep getting better. I want to work hard this summer and have a great year next year."
UA offers Henry
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