by Otis Kirk
Posted 7/20/2012 09:14 am
Updated 2 years ago
Pulaski Academy tight end Hunter Henry will sign with the University of Arkansas and play his college football at the same school his father played.
Henry, 6 foot 6, 245 pounds, committed to Arkansas on Thursday afternoon at a press conference at his school's gymnasium. Henry, who had over 20 scholarship offers, chose Arkansas over a list of finalists that included defending national champion Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, Stanford and Vanderbilt.
“Just praying about it and just all the relationships I've been over the past two years or so that I've had,” Henry said when asked how he came to the decision to attend Arkansas.
Henry took a visit to Arkansas recently, but chose to do it without any fanfare or media specuation on what the trip meant.
“I kind of revisited a couple of weeks ago,” Henry said. “I kind of kept it quiet and kind of went over there privately. I had some questions that I wanted answered and I got those answered.
“To me, Arkansas really was it's about the program to me. It's not really about the coaching staff; it's always felt like home to me. Throughout the process I kind of wanted to look everywhere to make sure it was the right place for me.”
Henry is rated a 94 by 247Sports which makes him a 4-star recruit. Henry also is rated the No. 111 player in nation regardless of position, the No. 5 tight end and No. 2 player in Arkansas. The visits sealed the deal for Henry.
“Now, I just know it's the right place for me,” Henry said. “I just had some questions about the tight end position, just the depth chart there and different things that were going on there ... and with the coaching staff situation, I kind of had to solidify everything with them.”
Arkansas has featured the tight end position in the passing game extensively since installing the Pro-Style offense four years ago. D.J. Williams won the Mackey Award for best college tight end and is now with the Green Bay Packers and senior Chris Gragg has been nominated for that award this year.
“I've gotten tight up with some tight ends up there, Austin Tate and Chris Gragg, and kind of got to know them,” Henry said. “I just really like the people up there and how they handle themselves.”
Arkansas fans statewide and across the nation celebrated when Henry said the words that he was going to be a Razorback, but maybe no one was happier than his father. Mark Henry redshirted at Arkansas in 1987 and then was a four-year letterman from 1988-91.
“He was pretty jacked,” Hunter said. “He was pretty happy. He was real happy to know I'm about to follow in his footsteps and continue the Henry legacy at Arkansas. He was really excited about it, and we're really looking forward to it.”
As a junior, Henry caught 64 passes for 1,091 yards and 16 touchdowns. He caught at least three passes in each game last season and in the state championship game he grabbed six passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns. With the decision on where he's going to school out of the way, Henry admitted he feels a lot of weight lifted.
“I kind of made my decision about a week and half ago,” Henry said. “This is definitely a big relief. I feel like people don't realize how stressful it is. I've been calling all these coaches and talking to all these people, it can be stressful at times, but it's been a great process.”
Arkansas now has 10 commitments including four of the five prospects they've offered in the state. North Little Rock running back Altee Tenpenny has committed to Alabama, but will attend Arkansas' Prospect Camp this weekend and is still being recruited by the Razorbacks.
But the Razorbacks got commitments from three others in the state's top five: the Fayetteville trio of quarterback Austin Allen, linebacker Brooks Ellis and safety Alex Brignoni.