UNC Moves Up For Four-Star QB

Childhood ties plus a strong familiarity with the offense compelled Caleb Henderson, a four-star prospect from the 2014 class, to visit North Carolina on Saturday.

Henderson, a 6-foot-3, 209-pounder, plays quarterback at Burke (Va.) Lake Braddock – near the old stomping grounds of UNC starting quarterback Bryn Renner.

"I've known Bryn since I was a little kid," Henderson said. "We still talk sometimes. When my school played his old school, West Springfield, he came to that game. I talked to him a little bit there. He always talks to me about what it is like [at UNC]. I always ask him how school is going."

Henderson also has an indirect connection to Renner's father, who coached Bryn at West Springfield.

"I don't really know him personally, but he's pretty much the founder of the offense that we run at Lake Braddock now," Henderson said. "He's kind of the spread [offense] guru in Virginia."

Saturday's visit made a strong impression on Henderson.

"It really brought my feelings about North Carolina up," Henderson said. "I've never met Coach [Larry] Fedora before that, so it was really good to meet him and to see how he thinks and to see what kind of person he is. Obviously, he's a great guy.

"I could see myself playing at North Carolina. It's a great place. It's a great school academically. [The football program] is coming up and they're really building up the football team and I'd love to be a part of that."

In fact, the visit has moved UNC right into Henderson's top five schools list. The Tar Heels join Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Oregon.

"Those schools have great reputations [and] a real family environment," Henderson said. "What I'm really looking for are schools that aren't just football factories, to make sure they care about me as a person.

"I really like Michigan State just because we have a family friend there, the defensive coordinator Coach [Pat] Narduzzi. I've known him for a very long time. He's a great guy."

Noticeably, Henderson's favorites list has a strong Midwest flavor, which is surprising for a prospect located in the mid-Atlantic.

"I love the Big Ten," Henderson said. "I pretty much think you can't get better football traditionally than the Big Ten. The SEC is definitely the conference right now, but back-in-the-day, if you were good at football you wanted to go to the Big Ten."

Henderson could actually be close to making a verbal commitment.

"With Oregon, they said I'm in their top two and Ohio State said I'm in their top three," Henderson said. "So I'm just waiting to find out what those two are doing and then I'm going to make my decision then."

UNC also is in the process of deciding whether to offer Henderson.

"They said they are coming up this week to watch me work out, and then they said they'll decide there," Henderson said.

Approximately 20 schools have offered Henderson, including Boston College, Maryland, Michigan State, Virginia, and Virginia Tech.

Henderson arrived in Chapel Hill at 8:30 a.m. and didn't depart until about 2:30 in the afternoon. For most of the six hours, he was shadowed by Blake Anderson, UNC's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

"He's a tremendous guy," Henderson said. "He's my type of coach."

Henderson was first given a campus tour that included an in-depth look at the Tar Heels' football facilities.

"The facilities are amazing," Henderson said.

After lunch, Henderson hung out with Anderson in the players' lounge before heading to Anderson's office where they talked football.

"He just showed me a little bit of what they do," Henderson said. "He kind of quizzed me a little bit. What they do is very similar to what we do, so I answered the questions very easily and quickly, and I think that really impressed Coach Anderson."

Henderson also had a 30-minute conversation with Fedora.

"He's just a real honest guy and I really like Coach Fedora," Henderson said. "He talked about his philosophies about football and how he looks for good character. He said being a good person is as important as being a good football player."

In addition to UNC, Henderson has made recent visits to Duke, Michigan State, and Rutgers. He doesn't have any future recruiting trips planned, but said he may return to Michigan State for a basketball game.

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