Henry Taking Slow Approach

He may be fast on the football field and track, but the Aliquippa (Pa.) speedster is in no hurry to blaze through the recruiting process.

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. – A tan sun hat shaded the eyes of Dravon Henry as he stood along the chain link fence surrounding Shippensburg Universities' Seth Grove Stadium. A careful eye surveyed the events unfolding before him, which at any given moment saw a pack of athletes bursting by a crowded grandstand or leaping into a wind-blown sand pit.

Henry would later run in the 4x100 meter relay with his Aliquippa teammates. Though a strained hamstring kept him out of Friday's PIAA Track and Field Championship events, there would be no holding back the FOX Sports NEXT four-star prospect from attempting to help his school bring home a gold medal.

Aliquippa did hit the podium Saturday, finishing fourth out of eight entrants with a relay time of 43.81 seconds, a mark better than its preliminary time of 44.25 even though a whipping wind matched or exceeded the harsh conditions presented Friday.

"It's been very up and down. Our whole 4x1 relay, no one was healthy all season," Henry said before taking the track Saturday. "This season was real shaky. Like, I'm still not 100 percent ready to go. But I'm going to go today because it's the state championship. You have no choice.

"It's just weird. I get healthy, the next person goes down. It's just weird."

Much like how he kept a careful eye on the competition, Henry has also kept a close eye on his recruitment. The athlete previously listed a top four of West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Penn State and Ohio State. He said that while it remains intact, he has also slowed his recruitment as the action on the track heated up.

A new player to his recruitment is UCLA, and the Bruins jumped onto his radar once former Aliquippa and Pittsburgh standout Rushel Shell left the Panther program and landed in Westwood.

"I'm starting to like UCLA, too. I'm going to keep my decisions open, but I still have my top four," Henry explained. "Like I said, during the season, things could change."

Penn State jumped into the prospect's top four after its defensive coordinator, John Butler, pitched to Henry the idea of being a ‘pioneer,' an ode to the fact that many Aliquippa products have forgone the opportunity to head east to PSU, often choosing nearby Pittsburgh or heading elsewhere.

And even though that comment from Butler is well over three months in the past, Henry still mentions it as if Butler had said it recently. It was a comment Henry said no other coach has ever mentioned to him.

"Penn State … when I was growing up, I always looked at them. When I (attended a) Junior Day down there, I went onto the field and it was so big," he explained.

"It seemed like down there, it's all about school and football; that's all they do up there. Their focus, school and education wise, is great.

"And walking onto that field, and you see the big stadium, I could see myself playing in front of all those fans. That really took my interest. "

Henry said he's unsure what major he would like to pursue, but sports management is an early leader in the clubhouse. What is sure, though, is that he plans to visit UCLA at some point, and may also go to Florida State, West Virginia and Ohio State on official visits, too.

It's unlikely that Pittsburgh or Penn State will receive official visits due to their proximity to Aliquippa, Henry explained. But both programs remain as a staple in his top four.

"I just continue to work hard, go to the weight room, and work hard," Henry said. "I would just let people know that I'm slowing things down. At the time, that's really where I could really see myself going at the time [to one of his top four schools].

"But there are so many scholarships coming in now, and coaches calling, and like, it could change. But I still have my top four."


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