2010 Intro: Gabe Henderson

RALEIGH, N.C. --- No one benefited more from Southeast High's switch to a spread offense than Gabe Henderson. The 6-foot-1, 181-pound quarterback broke the school record for passing yards (2,301) and touchdowns (20) last fall.

Henderson completed 57-percent of his passes, while also rushing for 600 yards and nine touchdowns.

As a sophomore, Henderson was moved up to varsity where he shared reps at quarterback with a senior. But he eventually won the starting job towards the end of the season. He ended the year with 1,447 yards and 14 touchdowns through the air, and 335 yards and four scores on the ground.

"I've always been a spread [and] a little bit of two-back coach… but just to try to protect [Henderson] more [his sophomore season], we ran more two-back stuff [to] try to introduce him to the terminology and the speed of the game on varsity," Finn said.

Seeing Henderson's potential as a sophomore, Finn decided to switch to a spread pass-heavy offense.

"Last year, I sat down and talked to Gabe and his dad, and said ‘We're going to change our offense a little bit,'" Finn said. "… I said ‘We're going to open this offense up and use Gabe. And as Gabe goes, our offense is going to go and our team is going to go.' I laid out some plays [and] formations [and] told him ‘Here's what I need you to do this year.' And he's done it."

High on Henderson's to-do list was to become comfortable tucking the ball and running.

"Gabe has always been a good passer – he's a good drop-back quarterback," Finn said. "Last year I told him ‘You've got to add the running part to your game.'"

This coming season, Finn is going to ask even more from Henderson.

"He's a senior, he's been through the fire for two years now," Finn said. "We slowly did a little bit last year where I gave Gabe a play and he would check it and check out and put us in the right situation. Next year, I'm hoping he's going to be able to do a lot more of that.

"I get on him all the time ‘Don't run plays, run the offense.' But it's a learning process. But next year, there should be no excuses."

Henderson's sights are set on winning a state championship and breaking his own passing records.

"I want to eclipse those records. Like my dad told me, just challenge myself."

Henderson received a scholarship offer from Kent State on Thursday– he's first offer. He's also being heavily recruited by NC State and Virginia Tech, while schools like Duke, East Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee have also expressed interest.

"I talk to them all and most of them say the same thing ‘I want to get you back into camp,'" Henderson said.

"The thing that's really hurting Gabe is he's not the 6'3" quarterback," Finn said. "Tons of colleges are interested in him and they're all saying the same thing ‘We can't miss on a quarterback. If he's not going to be the 6-3 typical quarterback then we need to make sure he knows what he's doing, he has to be able to see over all those big lineman, he must know how to think through the game.' They just want to see him one more time to see how he's developed."

Thanks to the Southeast spread offense's ability to completely showcase his athletic talent, Henderson could catch on with a school as an athlete.

"If the quarterback doesn't work out, he can play receiver or safety or corner," Henderson said. "That's where opening up the offense last year helps show all that – he runs really well."

Henderson hasn't begun to think about his summer camping schedule. However, he figures to make the same stops as last summer – UNC, NC State, and Wake Forest – plus attend a few new camps.

It was at the Tar Heels' camp last June where Henderson met John Shoop, UNC's quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator.

"I built a close relationship with him," Henderson said. "I talk to him every now and then."

Henderson said he plans to attend junior days at Duke, East Carolina, UNC, and NC State.

Gabriel Henderson Profile

Inside Carolina Top Stories