Catching up with Kyle Henson

Kyle Henson has already participated in two College World Series during his career, but now, the incoming catcher is hoping to add to that total with a trip or two to Omaha.

Henson is a potent force offensively and will have the opportunity to add punch to Ole Miss' order in 2008 after two successful seasons at tradition-rich San Jacinto College where the Gators played in a couple JUCO World Series at Grand Junction, Colo.

The catching position will most likely be a battle until opening day, and Henson is a notable addition to the two returning lettermen. The Conroe, Texas native was a 17th round draft pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2005.

Henson fought injury in 2007 and only hit .286 but finished well with an all-tournament nomination in the World Series. The catcher was impressive as a freshman with a .396 average and held offers from Ole Miss and Texas before picking the Rebels.

Chase Parham of The Ole Miss Spirit caught up with Henson to talk about his past season, his expectations and his efforts to get over a bothersome injury.

On his past season:

I had a pretty good year I guess. Halfway through the year, I got a stress fracture in my back and had to sit out about three weeks, which affected my early play. After that though, I picked it up and hit well and caught well. My team played in the JUCO World Series where we finished fourth. I was all-tournament team there. (Henson played in only 31 games)

On picking Ole Miss:

I really liked their facilities, and they are renovating the stadium and doing what it takes to improve an already nice facility so that was a plus. Ole Miss is a winning program and has gone to the super regional three straight years so I know we are going to Omaha one of my years, and it should start next year. The tradition of winning is very important considering there is the opportunity for Omaha every season. It has been cool because I tell people I'm going to Ole Miss, and they tell me how great of a time I will have and how awesome the environment is. I haven't gotten to see the Grove, but I am really looking forward to that. It might be overwhelming coming from a junior college, but it is something that is very exciting.

On helping the team and what he needs to improve on:

I am a solid hitter and swing it pretty well. Being a catcher, the position is all about defense, and there is always something that you can work on. My blocking has been good, but I am sure there is a lot to learn about the position. I throw around a one-eight to second base, which I think is good, but I know it is a learning process. Ole Miss has a history of quality catchers and coaches that were catchers.

On Bianco and Lafferty being former catchers:

Having two former college catchers on staff was a big plus. I talked to Coach Bianco and Coach Lafferty on my visit, and they made me feel comfortable and we were able to have a normal conversation with good communication. It felt like home, and I know that they will teach me and have me prepared for the next level. Coach Lafferty told me about catching in the Cardinals organization and about his experiences so that was very interesting. Ole Miss has a relatively young coaching staff, and that is pretty neat. They were on my level but were serious at the same time. There is no doubt that it is the right place for me to play.

On recruiting and choosing the Rebels over the Longhorns:

It was between Texas and Ole Miss. I felt like Ole Miss was a better opportunity to play right away and compete. I will be a junior and could be drafted so you have to look at playing as soon as possible. It is a great situation to play early and compete for championships. That and the coaches knowing the catching position like they do made it an easier decision.

On the injury and getting ready for fall:

I will make sure that I'm ready. I'm playing games and getting swings in this summer, but rest is also very important. It is a stress fracture so rest is really all I can do to cure it. But, I won't let that stop me for the fall. I'll be healthy and ready to compete. I'm just anxious to get on campus and get started.

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