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Longview Defensive Tackle Zaycoven Henderson Speaks on His TCU Commitment

Longview DT Zaycoven Henderson. (Courtesy photo)

Zaycoven Henderson didn’t plan to commit as early as he did, but there’s no doubt TCU fans are glad he did.

The 6-foot-2, 290-pound Longview defensive tackle pledged to the Horned Frogs during a Sunday junior day trip.

“It really just kinda happened because I didn’t expect TCU to be that great,” Henderson said Monday afternoon. “It was actually really good. I like it out there. I can picture myself there.

“I loved everything. All the facilities. I loved ‘em.”

Henderson received seven offers in the last five weeks after winning the Defensive Line MVP award at Next Level Athlete’s Texas Top 100 camp in Pasadena in January. TCU joined Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, SMU, and Texas Tech as schools that offered Henderson. Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and Ole Miss offered him on three consecutive days last week. Oklahoma, which has also offered Longview junior receiver Dorian Leonard, was the first school to offer Henderson.

Henderson insists that he will not be a recruit who changes his mind multiple times during the process.

“I’m strong to TCU, all the way to February when I sign the LOI,” he said.

Henderson said TCU’s defensive success under head coach Gary Patterson “had a lot to do with” his decision to commit. TCU has gained a national reputation for being one of the country’s top defensive programs. The Horned Frogs, who finished 16th nationally in total defense in 2012, led the nation in total defense three consecutive seasons from 2008-10.

“They said if I come in and work hard, hit the weight room, and perform in practice, I’ll touch the field,” Henderson said.

But the attention Henderson received since becoming a highly sought after recruit during the past five weeks also influenced his decision to commit this early. Henderson said he tired quickly of the rigors of the recruiting process, such as night-time calls from reporters and frequent correspondence with coaches.

“It’s a good thing but also it gets on your nerves,” Henderson said. “I got tired of everybody blowing me up all night. I could barely get any sleep.”

Henderson said his parents also enjoyed the junior day trip and loved TCU, which he emphasized had to be the case for wherever he committed.

Henderson had a breakout junior season, recording 48 tackles, 10 for loss, and two sacks for Longview, which went 9-4 with a Class 5A Division II Region II semifinal appearance. Henderson is a headliner in Longview’s strong 2014 class, which also includes Leonard — the owner of OU and Texas Tech offers — and safeties Stephan Maxey (5-11, 185) and Travin Howard (5-11, 190). Maxey and Howard received Oklahoma junior day invitations about a month ago for the Feb. 2 event along with Henderson and Leonard.

TCU’s Total Defense Rank Since 2005

  • 2012 — 16th
  • 2011 — 32nd
  • 2010 — 1st
  • 2009 — 1st
  • 2008 — 1st
  • 2007 — 15th
  • 2006 — 2nd
  • 2005 — 25th

– Statistics from NCAA

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