Texas wideout hoping for official to Nebraska

He's 6 foot, 5 ½ inches tall in his bare feet, his coach says. He weighs 198 pounds, runs a reported 4.47 and his vertical has been tested as high as 35 inches. On paper, that's a freak anyway you want to look at it and his coach would agree. And right now he's waiting, hoping to take an official to Nebraska.

In just his second season with the Hanks Knights, head coach Jeff Cleveland has tried to take a struggling football team and turn them into a winner. His team, 1-9 before he took them over two years ago, finished this year at 5-5.

Running a spread offense, similar to that of the perennial prep-power South Lake Carroll, Cleveland knew that much of the success he was going to have would be based on a smart quarterback and playmaking receivers.

To the second factor, Cleveland said he's been fortunate to have not just his biggest playmaker, but perhaps one of the biggest playmaking receivers around, senior Will Henry.

"He's a stud," Cleveland said of Henry. "His size gives you a lot of options, but his speed and ability to jump gives you even more. I don't think there's a route he can't run pretty well, but you can imagine that one of his biggest strengths is going deep. "

Averaging almost 17 yards a catch, Henry dominated his competition, catching 56 balls on the year, scoring 12 times and totaling 927 yards. Considering the mismatch he is for opponents, you might think he'd have even more, but Cleveland cites the fact that he is so clearly the biggest weapon for the offense, it's not hard to figure out who defenses are keying on. "Our offense is based on spreading the ball out and utilizing a lot of different receivers, but when you have someone like him, it's not hard to figure out where the quarterback will be looking a lot of times to throw," Cleveland said.

For Henry himself, he's seen the disparity between himself and his opponents as a good thing, of course, but it's a challenge as well. "They will play me a lot of ways, but you really don't know what they are going to do until you get into the game," Henry said. "I expect to get a lot of attention, so it's just figuring out what they are doing and try to game plan around that."

You'd think that a player like Henry, as prolific as he is, attention would be the last thing he needs. District 8 of 5A football in El, Paso, however, isn't necessarily one of the recruiting hotbeds in a state laden with hotbeds, sporting some of the best prep-talent in the country.

In District 3 of 5A, you hear of schools like Abilene, Permian (Odessa) and Midland. In District 5, you have the one and only Southlake Carroll, along with Ryan( Denton). In Hank's district it's schools like Franklin and Coronado that dominate. Good names, but let's say that it's not the first stop on most school's recruiting trips.

That means even someone like Henry has a hard time getting noticed.

"Yeah, I don't know what the deal is," Henry said of having "just" three offers right now from New Mexico State, UTEP and Texas Tech. "I don't worry too much about it, but I guess it makes you wonder."

It's not grades, that's for certain, Henry sporting a 90% grade average on a 100% scale, and he scored an 1140 on the old version of the SAT.

His head coach can't figure it out, because from what he's seen, Henry has it all. "There's nothing he can't do out there," Cleveland said. "He can run the fades and posts, of course, but he runs the hitches and we have this little tunnel screen, where he just gets the ball short and goes. He's not Michael Vick, so he's not going to break your ankles, but he gets out in the open field, he's probably headed to the end zone."

The attention has been picking up for Henry, some schools just realizing very late in the process what a gem there was down in El Paso. Because of that, Henry has been rushing a bit to try and figure out where all of his five official visits will go.

He's taken one to UTEP and has one scheduled to Texas Tech, plus there's a chance he'll visit Missouri. And up until just a day or so ago, he had one set up for this weekend, one he said he was looking forward to taking. "I was supposed to go to Nebraska this weekend," Henry said. "They got on me real late, like just a week ago, but they wanted to bring me up for a visit."

"Coach Gilmore (WR coach Ted Gilmore) called and said not to come up yet, because they need to see if the two wide receivers they have offered are going to accept the offers or not. He said that if either says no, they are bringing me up for a visit, and it sounds like they really want me to come."

Growing up in Texas, Henry didn't grow up knowing a lot about Nebraska, but he knew the basics that most kids his age know: Great tradition, some national titles and they used to be on TV almost every week. If this Nebraska were that Nebraska, though, he wouldn't even be considering them, because what this Nebraska does is more his cup of tea.

"I really like their offense, because you have one key receiver, but they spread it out when they need to and defenses have problems figuring out just what you are going to do," Henry said. "(Texas) Tech's offense is pretty spread out, but one thing I looked at with them, I don't think any of their receivers ever do anything in the NFL."

"I look at that, because that's a goal of mine, so I want to go to a place where the coaches know what it takes and the system they use is pretty similar to what they do in the NFL. Nebraska fits that, they have coaches who were coaches in the NFL, so that's why I'd really like to take a visit there."

While Will does want to visit Nebraska, he's feeling the pressure to get his official visits scheduled as soon as he can. Wanting to get to know as much as he can about the schools most interested in him, he's ready to get those all set in stone, so he can get out on the road.

As to the Huskers, with the recent commit of the top junior college wide receiver in the country (Maurice Purify) and the existing commit of San Diego native Menelik Holt, one has to wonder just how many more wideouts the Huskers will take. Marrero, Louisiana's Chris Mitchell is scheduled to be in town this weekend and there's still the unknown situation of recent Oklahoma de-commit Jeremy Maclin.

Are those that players that Nebraska is waiting on? If so, what Mitchell does this weekend (Nebraska is his first official visit) could be key in deciding if Henry gets invited back to Lincoln or not.

Henry wouldn't mind and hopes that the Huskers call back, so he can go and see the place for himself. "I'd definitely like to visit there," Will said. "They have a great winning tradition there, but I really like all the NFL experience they have, too."

"I'd just like to go check them out, because I've heard a lot about them and it seems like they are starting to get things going."

"I've got some other options, hopefully more in the near future, but that's a place I'd at least like to see."

As for his head coach, he's hoping the attention increases as well, so they will realize finally something he already knows. "I know every coach probably talks about their kids in the same way, but they just have to see this young man for themselves."

"I know if they did, they would see what I see. He's got it all and I know he's going to be a big time weapon for any team that gets him."

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