Structured Settlement

Forced to settle for his redshirt season after his restructured knee never could get back to 100 percent, cornerback Aaron Henry is back on the field for the Badgers and his happy to be apart of the team's preparations for the Champs Sports Bowl.

First off Mr. Henry, how are you feeling since getting back to practice?

Aaron Henry: I feel very good. I am kind of rusty since I haven't really been playing football for about a year. I am getting back into the feel of things, but I am doing well.

Watching you during developmental periods, it looked like you had some rust but it seemed like your quickness was still there. Is that something you were worried about that you would lose a step when you came back?

AH: I am still not as quick as I would like to be yet and I ultimately would like to lose a few pounds and come back even quicker. It's come back pretty well. You saw me out there and probably thought I was moving relatively quick, but I am not as quick as I would like to be. All in all, it's coming along. I am definitely quicker than I was a couple of months ago.

You had tried to come back earlier in the year and your knee just didn't react well. It's your knee reacting better this time around?

AH: Yes, sir, everything has been very, very steady. The knee is coming along great. I do get some soreness from time to time, but everything is structurally fine with the knee.

Obviously this year didn't go as well as you would have hoped but now that you made it through the year and were able to use your redshirt, does it make you feel any better knowing that this year didn't cost you a year of eligibility and you still have three years left to play?

AH: It does make it a whole lot better, knowing that I can come back and have three years where I can compete and play. Ultimately, I could have lost a year this year if I would have come back and I wouldn't have been up to par with myself and my athletic ability to go out there and play. Knowing that I will be healthy and having three years to play, the sky is the limit and I am excited for that.

Coach Bielema has nicknamed you ‘the closer' because of your work you've done with recruits and the number of kids you have hosted that ended up committing to Wisconsin. Is that something you just enjoy doing – getting to meet new guys and hanging out with people?

AH: I do a lot because when you get a chance to meet a guy, coaches see the athletic ability and what he can do on the field. When I meet those guys, I try to get more personal with them. Everybody is trying to sell the program. I just try to get more in depth with them, see how there family is doing, how they are doing personally and try to really make a connection. I honestly believe that is why a lot of guys committed. Not just because of me, but because of that brotherhood and trying to be more than a person up here guiding them around on their recruiting visit. I am trying to get to know them and let them know what Wisconsin football is all about because we do have a solid brotherhood on this team.

One of the guys you have hosted, Antonio Fenelus, is someone we talked about in spring and someone you were excited about. Can you talk about the growth you have seen from him since he first stepped on campus and the steps you have seen him make?

AH:His game has always very confidence. I am not sure if it's a Florida thing, but he's always been very confident in himself and he knew that he had the talent, he just had to put it to use. He's done a whole lot for this football team on special teams and he's working on being a guy that can guard that big wide receiver. He's been really playing well and just seeing a guy like that grow, he really became a man. He's still goofy and still is Antonio, but he's growing up.

Growing up in the Miami area, were you a big Miami Hurricane fan growing up?

AH: I wasn't too big of a Hurricane fan. I had friends growing up that were huge Hurricane fans. Me, myself, I was a diehard Florida State fan.

Talk about the matchup for this school. Being able to play Florida State, Coach Bowden and a lot of tradition, especially from the 1990s. I know you can't play in the game, but talk about what it's going to be like for you.

AH: Just to go out there and witness it, I think it's going to be a tremendous matchup. I was a die-hard Florida State. Just like kids growing up in Wisconsin, they are die-hard Badger fans and love the Badgers. I love Florida State - Charlie Ward, Warrick Dunn, Deion Sanders, the list goes on. I honestly thought I was going to school there when I was younger. It's going to be a real fun game and it's going to be a heck of a battle.

How did you become a big Florida State fan?

AH: I had an older cousin that loved Florida State and I grew up around him and it kind of spilled off on me and I became a Florida State fan. Everybody else around me was a huge Hurricane fan and I hated the Canes. I really did.

Talk about those matchups in the 90s between Florida State and Miami. Throw in Florida and those were three pretty good teams playing football in the state of Florida. What was it like growing up watching those types of games between those schools?

AH:The feeling that you got, whether is was Florida playing Florida State, Miami playing Florida State or Miami playing Florida, the feeling as a kid was unbelievable. It was truly, truly crazy and seeing that growing up, you always wanted to be in that atmosphere. I think that this bowl game, you're going to get a chance to play in that atmosphere against Florida State and Bobby Bowden. We're going to go out there and show them what we've got.

The last two years you've been unable to play in the bowl games because of an injury. Being from the state of Florida and the fact that UW has been there five straight seasons, you must be just dying to play in your home state?

AH: It's always nice to go back home and it is a little hard not being able to play. Going there the last two years and not being able to play a play in either them, I just want to go down there and see my team succeed. Ultimately, we're going to a bowl, I get to see my family and see my brothers go out there and compete. That's something I always look forward to, whether it's in Florida or another state.

Allen Langford was named team MVP and obviously, you both play the same position and both have suffered ACL injuries within the past year. That's got to be huge for him to come back the way he did. How good do you feel for him and how much hope does it give you that a guy who plays your position can come back from an ACL injury and have his best season?

AH: Me and Lang always push each other. He's like an older brother to me and it does give me hope because he had a tremendous year this year. He's really helped me, even throughout this whole process, as a person and a player. We would always stay after practice doing extra stuff, whether it was in the weight room on our knees or whether it was on the field trying to get better. He's had a tremendous senior campaign and I wish nothing but the best for him. We're truly going to miss him.

I am looking forward to equal what he did times two. I am ready to step in, fill his shoes and make a name for myself and this football team.

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