Henderson watches stock rise at Senior Bowl

MOBILE, Ala. – Devery Henderson's name is one many people recognize. <br><b> Hauling in a 75-yard, Hail Mary touchdown pass as time expired in a 2002, 33-30 win at Kentucky, Henderson has gained plenty of notoriety during his career at LSU. The star of "The Bluegrass Miracle," Henderson brought home plenty of hardware for his memorable catch (and run), including an ESPY for the "Play of the Year."

Already ranking second in LSU history for career touchdown receptions with (19), Henderson was a second-team, all-SEC pick for the second year in a row leading the league in touchdown grabs in 2003 with 11.


However, as Henderson's career in Baton Rouge came to a close with a national championship, the Opelousas native prepares to make the jump to the next level.


He took the first giant leap Saturday night with an impressive performance in the Senior Bowl, played at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile.


Playing for the South squad, Henderson made quite a splash at the senior showcase challenging for Most Valuable Player honors with five catches for 120 yards. Had it not been from an impressive performance by teammate, quarterback Philip Rivers, Henderson might have brought home the hardware. But the N.C. State signal caller completed 12 of 19 passes for 213 yards and a pair of touchdowns leading the South in 28-10 romp of the North.


"I just wanted to show everyone that even though I'm 250 pounds I can do almost everything," Rivers said. "I try to do everything and I want to do everything, and I want to be the best."


Rivers was not shy going to Henderson, who hauled in a 67-yard bomb from the Wolf Pack senior. Ironically, Henderson spun his way around Oklahoma's Derrick Strait on a reception setting up Rivers' first touchdown pass, a 19-yard pitch and catch to Arkansas tailback Cedric Cobbs.


Henderson's 67-yard set the stage for the South's third touchdown of the first quarter and a 21-0 lead. On the initial play following Henderson's catch, Miami's Greg Jones rumbled into the end zone from 16 yards away.


"On the 65 (actually 67) yard throw, he (Rivers) really put the ball up over 55 yards on that pass," said Todd McShay from ESPN.com. "But his timing was incredible. Henderson was only 17 yards down the field and when you don't have elite strength you can make up for it with great timing. So far, there is no question Rivers was the MVP with Henderson a close second."


Henderson is projected as a late third, early fourth round pick in April's NFL Draft. However, Saturday could improve the status of the LSU senior receiver, blessed with sprinter speed.


Three other Tigers joined Henderson in Mobile, including star defensive tackle Chad Lavalais,

offensive lineman Stephen Peterman and punter Donnie Jones.



Chad Lavalais faced double and triple teams all night. (Dennis Hodges)


Lavalais, the all-everything leader of the Tigers heralded defense, did little to impress anyone.


However, the 6-3, 295-pound projected first rounder faced double, sometimes triple teams most of the evening. Lavalais did serve as a team captain for the South.


Peterman is one of the highest rated linemen in the SEC and is expected to be taken on the first day of the draft.


While specialists are rarely grabbed in the draft, Jones punted five times for 223 yards, with a long of 46 yards. However, one shanked punt that carried barely 20 yards was quite an eyesore.

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