RECRUITING: Punter Has Caught Florida's Eye

Eric Wilbur will use up his eligibility in the 2006 football season so signing a punter in the next recruiting class is a priority for the Florida Gators. High on Florida's board is Chas Henry of Dallas (GA) East Paulding. He's a 6-2, 190-pounder whose leg is like a rocket launcher because he regularly boots the ball high and very, very deep.

(See Chas Henry profile)

Henry visited Florida's most recent Junior Day and then he came back to Gainesville for football camp. Both were solid visits and they left him feeling good enough about the Gators that they remain very high on his personal wish list.

"I learned about the University and everything I got to meet the coaches and some of the players and they told me how the University was," he said. "It was a great experience. I enjoyed it a lot."

The players and support staff were also a big part of the positive experience for Henry.

"I met Tim Tebow and C.J. Leak and talked to him about recruiting and college a lot," he said. "I also got to know Eric Wilbur a lot. He and I talk a lot now."

The Junior Day was an invite only and there is a good reason Henry got the letter in the mail to attend the outing.

"I know at one camp Coach (Chuck) Heater was at, I kicked an average of 49.9 yards per punt on 10 punts with a 4.55 seconds hang time," he said. My longest was a 56 yarder with a 5.3 hang time.

After the Junior Day experience, he headed home to Georgia for a few days but less than a week later, he was back in Gaiensville at the Florida camp, working out as a quarterback and kicking specialist.

"We went to Junior Day and came back home for football workouts," he said. "Then the next weekend I went back for punting and then for some quarterbacking. Florida likes that I do play quarterback and like it for fakes and everything and then maybe a backup to the backup at quarterback."

Coach Heater is the one that first noticed Henry and he is also his recruiting area coach. The fact that Florida is recruiting him hard and he's interested in being a Gator is somewhat of a transition for his family, however.

"Coach Heater is great," Henry stated. "He talks to you and is a down to earth person, a wonderful person. For Junior Day I came with my mom and dad and for camp, my dad came with me. We grew up as Tennessee fans. They both graduated from Tennessee. After mom came to Gainesville and talked to the coaches, she just loved it. She thinks it is a great school and with great coaches."

Not every school signs a punter every year, so the number of schools interested in a punter is less than practically any other position. Henry still has a few big time programs looking at him, although none have offered yet.

"Florida is at the top of the list," he said. "I have talked with Georgia, Stanford, LSU, and South Carolina."

He went on to mention a few things about those schools.

FLORIDA: "I really enjoyed it and I would love to play in the swamp. I think it is a great to play and a great school."

GEORGIA: "Before I went to Florida I went to Georgia and punted in front of the coaching staff. I did pretty well and they were impressed. I like the coaching staff, I think they are great people and that is what impresses me about Georgia the most."

STANFORD: "The only thing I have done is get some letters form them and Coach Hammer sends me some text messages."

SOUTH CAROLINA: "Coach (Robert) Gillespie came by at the school and watched some film and said he was real impressed."

LSU: "I haven't set anything up with them yet."

Chas Henry is the starting quarterback, punter, field goal kicker and kickoff man for East Paulding. He regularly puts his kickoffs seven yards into the end zone in high school which means two yards deep in college. He has a ton of talent, but knows he needs to improve.

"I have to work on my flexibility," he said. "The hamstrings are real important part. The hip flexors are also important. The higher you keep your foot raised and the longer the ball stays in contact with the foot, the higher it will go and further it will travel."

That was a little bit of Kicking 101 from a prospect that merits a bunch of attention from Gator recruitniks. Chas Henry is certainly one we will stay in touch with.

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