CLEMMONS, N.C. --- West Forsyth High is becoming quite a defensive end factory. Within the past four recruiting classes it has produced Alex McCalister (Florida) and Jalen Dalton (North Carolina), and will continue the trend in the 2018 class with K.J. Henry, a 6-foot-5, 220-pounder.
“We’ve had some defensive lineman here that have been pretty good – there’s no doubt about it,” West Forsyth head coach Adrian Snow said. “I think [Henry] will fit right now, to be honest with you. If he will work, he could probably be as good or better as any that we’ve had.”
“His length is a big attribute for him – there’s no doubt about it,” Snow. “He’s a really good athlete. He plays really well in space. He’s a really good basketball player, too, which I think helps him movement-wise. He has tremendous upside. He’s just so good coming off the edge that it makes it tough on offensive linemen.”
Henry spent his freshman season at Forsyth Country Day. Last offseason, he transferred to West Forsyth.
After an acclimation period, Henry became the starting defensive end three games into the 2015 season. Even then he was part of a rotation. But still he earned all-conference recognition.
“[The rotation] was great with me coming over from Forsyth Country Day,” Henry said. “I had a great time over there [at Forsyth Country Day], but it’s two different types of football. The coaches really got me into the public schools state of mind.”
Henry isn’t strictly a pass rusher. He dropped into coverage on occasion.
At the advisement of Snow, Henry attended UNC’s win over Wake Forest – which coincidentally is the school his father coached at for 11 years – last October.
“[Snow] let me know that if I go down to watch UNC play then possibly I’d get an offer,” Henry said. “Definitely hearing that and it possibly being my first major offer, I didn’t even hesitant – I went down and watched the game. Sure enough after the game, they hit me up with an offer.”
Charlotte, Eastern Kentucky, Indiana, NC State, and Wake Forest have also offered Henry.
In addition to adding to his offer list, the UNC visit allowed Henry to soak in his first game in Kenan Stadium.
“It was great,” Henry said. “They got that little rivalry going on, so that made it even better. It was a little chilly, but it wasn’t anything serious. The atmosphere was great – the fans were booing and cheering. And it was good seeing Jalen [Dalton] play and it’s always good to see him.”
Although Dalton graduated from West Forsyth relatively recently, he and Henry have never been teammates. But Henry says they are “good friends.”
“I don’t know if I would call it ‘recruiting,’ but we definitely talk about UNC,” Henry said. “He’s chill about it. He doesn’t pressure me at all.”
Henry hopes to return to UNC for a basketball game, but doesn’t have any definite plans.
Besides UNC, Henry has visited Clemson, Duke, NC State, Tennessee, and Wake Forest.
Henry doesn’t claim any favorite schools.
“It being so early, I would like to give everybody a fair shot,” Henry said. “Some schools, they don’t start recruiting until later – that’s just how they do it. I take that into perspective, as well. But I’m just enjoying the process right now.”
Henry’s father, Keith, is the defensive coordinator at Catawba College, his alma mater. He has also coached at Charleston Southern, Gardner-Webb, North Carolina A&T, Ohio, and Wake Forest… Additionally, Henry is close with a couple coaches at Charlotte.