Coach's Corner: Jonathan Henderson

In this edition of "Coach's Corner", Websider's Taylor Hamm interviews Leander head coach Steve Gideon and together they discuss what Jonathan Henderson brings to the table for the Aggies in 2011. Don't miss the exclusive scouting report in the tailgate!

What kind of Player is Texas A&M getting with Jonathan?

"Jon most definitely won't disappoint. He is every bit the athlete that every Division 1 school would hope to sign. He is one of the hardest workers I have been around my whole life and I've been in this business for 29 years. He's not just a phenomenal athlete, he is one heck of a worker. He is very competitive on top of that. Jon has a lot of those winning characteristics that we all enjoy as coaches."

Describe his overall skill set:

"Talent wise, he is going to bring a lot of speed to either side of the ball. He is a 10.7 guy. He is a dual sport athlete right now which makes it difficult for him to just concentrate on track and or baseball. He is our center fielder in baseball, lead-off batter, and he was also the 100-meter champion two years in a row, 16-5A. That's quite an achievement coming out of that district. There is quite a bit of speed here. He also worked on both of our relays, so he's been blessed with quite a bit of speed. He also has a very sturdy body make-up. He is 5-9, 5-9.5 and 185-187 pounds. He is very strong on top of being fast. He is very durable and had very few injuries that have sidelined him."

What kind of player is he on both sides of the ball?

"When Jon gets his hands on the ball, he can score from anywhere. As a defensive player, he has a competitive speed about him which means he carries his pads really well. Some people when you put pads on them that 4.5 goes to a 4.6 or 4.7 and it seems like Jonathan plays fast with them on. Here is why, Stony Point intercepted a ball about 8-yards deep in our end-zone and Jon was running a vertical opposite hash-- Jon was 10-yard behind him when the defender started to take it back to the house. Jon was able to catch him from behind and make the touchdown saving tackle. The guy that he caught is going to TCU as a cornerback. From a defensive standpoint, we started Jon as our free safety the third game of his sophomore year. We lost a guy to injury so we were looking for somebody who could fill that role in the middle. I told my coaches that we were not going to bring anyone up [from JV] that we were not willing to start. We brought him up and started him against Temple and he just got so much better every week. He ended up leading the team in tackles as a sophomore and that's after missing the first two games. He plays taller than 5-9 and has great leaping ability."

Where do project Jon playing in college?

"I'm not in tune with the personnel or depth chart of A&M but at the same time Jon is such an easy recruit. The good thing about it is that A&M can weigh their options and Jon is just happy to be a college football player. He will play both sides of the ball for me this year. It will be hard for me not to put him out there at kickoff return because when he gets his hands on the ball he can take it to the house. He is going to play offense first for me because of the homerun factor. The next thing is that he can draw attention when we are trying to get the ball on other parts of the field. He is going to allow me to spread the ball around. The simple fact is that Jon Henderson is a very unselfish player. He's just as happy when he makes 6 or 7 downfield blocks that contribute to positive yardage. Jon is so competitive he will do everything in his power to help his team win. That's what makes him so valuable."

If you had to critique his abilities and give him some advice to become a better play at the next level what would it be?

Obviously, Jon is a target whenever he steps on the field. People are going to try to take him away from his game. He is going to draw a lot of double coverage. It's just like today when we were out there working on 7-on-7 drills, whether I play him one-on-one or try to put him by himself on one side of the field, the coverage is going to see that and he'll wind up going up against two defenders. If I put him in the middle of a 3X1 package and let him run a little flat route there is always going to be people who know where Jon is. The other thing is that Jon can become too competitive. He needs to make sure he keeps himself in the ball game. I'm talking about mentally not letting someone else distract him, because that is a very obvious motive for some teams that we play. They know what caliber of an athlete he is and what a game changer he is. They are going to try to find things to distract him. That would be something he needs to pay attention to and obviously when he gets to college everyone can play. He is still going to be a game breaker in my mind."


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