Though a number of high-profile programs are already vying for his services, rising junior and Scout five-star quarterback Malik Henry says he doesn’t “have any favorites right now.”
Tennessee will do its best to get in the mix and change that.
Henry, rated as Scout’s No. 2 passer and No. 14 overall player for the 2016 class, has a lot of options, and he isn’t letting geography limit them whatsoever. Though he stars on the west coast, the Westlake Village (Calif.) High prospect says staying close to home “doesn’t matter at all.”
So far this summer, Henry has backed up his words. The five-star visited or camped at schools all over the country. Florida State, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Ohio State have hosted Henry over the last couple months. All of the aforementioned teams — including Tennessee — have extended offers to California’s top-ranked signal-caller.
Henry says he plans on making another cross-country trip soon.
“I’m not sure if I can get to Tennessee before the season,” the 6-foot-2, 175-pounder told InsideTennessee. “But I’m definitely trying to schedule a visit sometime after the season or sometime during the season. Maybe during a bye week.”
Tennessee offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Bajakian has been the Vols primary recruiter for Henry thus far. Bajakian has made it known to the Californian that he could be a valuable asset to the Big Orange.
“He likes my (throwing) motion and my athleticism,” Henry said. “He saw me throw at Westlake for a couple minutes, and he liked everything he saw — from my mechanics to everything.”
|TENNESSEE OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR MIKE BAJAKIAN|
The quarterback position could use a talented player like Henry. Due to inconsistent play and ill-timed injuries, senior Justin Worley, redshirt sophomore Nathan Peterman and sophomore Josh Dobbs combined for a paltry 1,979 yards, 12 touchdowns and 16 interceptions on 56-percent passing in 2013.
With no quarterbacks signed in Tennessee head man Butch Jones’ first class, and only one “true” passer committed for 2014, the position is still very much in transition. This an area Henry thinks he could impact but contends that the Vols have capable players at the position right now.
“I think they have a really good quarterback right now with Josh Dobbs,” Henry said. “I was with him out at the Elite 11, and I learned a lot from him, but I think I could see myself helping out their program.”
If he were to “help” Tennessee, the elite passer believes the skill position talent being amassed on Rocky Top could make the process very doable.
“You have to have playmakers around you and as a quarterback you need people you can throw the ball to … I know (Tennessee’s coaches) are trying to get the best.”
For now, though, Tennessee is a program Henry likes but one he is trying to learn more about.
“I really like their offense and just how it’s all set up. I mean, I don’t know too much about Tennessee so I’ll find out a little more when I get down there, after I talk to coach Jake.”