Longview’s Zaycoven Henderson Commits to Texas + Will Enroll in January
LONGVIEW — The Texas Longhorns have another East Texan headed to the 40 Acres.
Longview senior defensive tackle Zaycoven Henderson announced his commitment to Texas during a Monday afternoon ceremony at Longview High School. Henderson plans to graduate this month and enroll at Texas in January.
The 6-foot-1, 300-pound standout had about 20 offers to choose from, but picked the Longhorns over Texas Tech and Baylor, two schools that joined Texas in his final three.
Henderson decommitted from TCU in early September. Since then, Texas had been considered the favorite in his recruitment. Henderson had Texas and Texas Tech shirts in front of him for his announcement, but slipped on the burnt orange to make it official. Family members and friends decked out in Texas gear also tipped off spectators as to which school the standout defensive lineman was about to choose.
“It’s the University of Texas. You can’t go wrong. They send D-linemen out every year (to the NFL). It’s my state’s school. Why not?,” Henderson said of his decision to go to Austin.
He also said that the perceived uncertainty regarding longtime head coach Mack Brown’s future had no impact.
“I’m not playing for the coaches. I’m playing for me, and I’m playing for my family and my support,” Henderson said. “The coaching staff, it’s still gonna be Texas. They’re gonna get the best coach. It’s one of the most prestigious programs in the country.”
Henderson added that classmate Dorian Leonard, a 6-foot-4 receiver who committed to Texas in mid-June, being a Longhorn pledge influenced his decision.
“That’s my boy,” said Henderson, who is determined to play as a freshman. “I never had the offer. He had it. When I got it, that’s when I decided to go.
“They’re great in education. My family, that’s all we talk about is education. Make sure you go in with a play. I’m going there with a plan and I’m gonna major in business.”
Henderson is the fifth East Texan and fourth in the 2014 class to commit to Texas, joining Leonard, Jasper senior center Terrell Cuney, Newton senior athlete Kevin Shorter, and Lufkin junior athlete KeKe Coutee.
Henderson overcame a foot fracture that cost him the first five games of the 2013 season. In only eight games, he recorded 36 tackles, 13 for loss, two sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and one defensive touchdown. That performance came after his breakout junior season a year ago, when he recorded 48 tackles, 10 for loss, and two sacks.
You knew that when we got the good-on-good, that Zay was ready to go. He would get the party started, so to speak. — Longview coach John King on Henderson’s leadership in practice
Longview head coach John King said Henderson did not waste any time getting back to business once he was cleared to play following the foot fracture.
“He was ready to get back on the football field. He didn’t milk it. As soon as he could get back out there, the next day he was on the field playing fighting through pain, and continued to do so throughout the rest of the season,” King said. “The biggest thing is Zay will mix it up with anybody. The nastier it gets the better he’s gonna play. He’s just kind of a throwback, old-school defensive lineman.
“The thing that stands out the most about him is his first step. Extremely violent, and strong with his hands. When he throws blockers off of him he can chase the football. We played him inside as a nose and a 3-tech, and then we moved him to the edge as a 5-technique and he was effective both places.”
King, who has coached his share of high-major college signees, said Henderson has everything physically and mentally to be an impact player in a major conference.
“Zay’s gonna fit in anywhere. He’s a very likable kid and very intelligent. He’s an extremely smart football player. He just understands the game of football, scheme-wise and leverage-wise,” King said. “He understands the intensity you’ve gotta play the game with. His work ethic, what he’s shown us here and what he’s been able to do here, I think it’s gonna carry him throughout his college career and hopefully one day he may play on Sunday.”
East Texans Committed to Texas
- Terrell Cuney, C, Jasper, 6-3, 260
- Zaycoven Henderson, DT, Longview, 6-1, 300
- Dorian Leonard, WR, Longview, 6-4, 200
- Kevin Shorter, RB/ATH, Newton, 6-0, 190
- KeKe Coutee, ATH, Lufkin, 5-10, 160
2014 East Texas Football Players With Division I FBS Offers
- Terry Ausborne, S, John Tyler, 5-10, 175 — offer from SMU (1)
- Blake Bogenschutz, QB, Carthage, 6-1, 175 — committed to UTSA (1)
- Jacob Bragg, OL, Nacogdoches, 6-4, 310 — committed to Kansas; additional offers from Louisiana Tech, Oregon State, ULM (4)
- K.D. Cannon, WR, Mount Pleasant, 6-0, 160 — committed to Baylor; additional offers from Arizona, Clemson, Florida State, Houston, Miami, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Purdue, SMU, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Utah, Vanderbilt, Virginia, West Virginia (21)
- Caleb Chumley, QB/ATH, Pine Tree, 6-5, 220 — offers from Houston, Kansas, Louisiana Tech, Memphis, Missouri, New Mexico State, North Texas, Oregon State, Texas State (9)
- Joseph Clark, RB/S, Chapel Hill, 5-9, 175 — committed to Texas Tech; additional offers from Air Force, Navy, Texas State (4)
- Kade Clayton, ATH, Tyler Grace, 6-0, 180 — offers from Navy, SMU, Texas State (3)
- Terrell Cuney, C, Jasper, 6-3, 260 — committed to Texas; additional offers from TCU, Texas Tech (3)
- Devondrick Dixon, ATH, Gilmer, 5-9, 180 — committed to Texas State (1)
- Adrian Goodacre, OL, Carthage, 6-4, 310 — committed to ULL; additional offer from Houston (2)
- Terian “Tee” Goree, WR, Carthage, 6-2, 170 — committed to North Texas; additional offers from Colorado, Colorado State, Louisiana Tech, Memphis, San Diego State, ULL, ULM, UTSA (9)
- Davion Hall, ATH, Liberty-Eylau, 6-2, 191 — committed to Baylor; additional offers from Alabama, Arkansas, LSU, SMU, Stanford, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech (9)
- Zaycoven Henderson, DT, Longview, 6-1, 293 — committed to Texas; additional offers from Baylor, Florida, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Oregon, SMU, South Carolina, TCU, Texas Tech, Washington, Washington State (18)
- Travin Howard, S, Longview, 6-0, 178 — offer from UTSA (1)
- Willy Ivery, ATH, Sulphur Springs, 5-8, 180 — committed to North Texas; additional offers from Colorado State, New Mexico, Texas State, Toledo (5)
- Jamal Jeffery, WR, Lufkin, 5-9, 165 — committed to Texas A&M (1)
- Chris Jefferson, ATH, Athens, 6-2, 200 — committed to SMU (1)
- Jawuan Johnson, DB, New Boston, 6-0, 195 — committed to Northern Illinois (1)
- Dorian Leonard, WR, Longview, 6-4, 200 — committed to Texas; offers from Florida State, Oklahoma, Oregon State, San Diego State, Texas Tech (6)
- Reggie Long, LB, Whitehouse, 6-0, 218 — offers from Army, New Mexico State (2)
- Ben Luckett, RB, Palestine, 6-0, 195 — committed to ULM (1)
- Patrick Mahomes, QB, Whitehouse, 6-3, 203 — committed to Texas Tech; additional offers from Houston, North Texas, Rice (4)
- Stephan Maxey, DB, Longview, 5-11, 185 — offer from UTSA (1)
- Keith Minor, DL, Chapel Hill, 6-3, 237 — offer from Cincinnati (1)
- Jarrell Owens, LB/DE, Palestine, 6-3, 230 — committed to TCU; additional offers from Texas State, Texas Tech, ULM (4)
- Greg Roberts, DE, Nacogdoches, 6-5, 200 — committed to Baylor (1)
- Anthony Rhone, LB, Texas High, 6-0, 210 — committed to SMU (1)
- O’Keeron Rutherford, WR, Carthage, 6-5, 181 — committed to North Texas; additional offer from ULM (2)
- Anthony Sanders, ATH, Athens, 5-11, 185 — offer from ULM (1)
- Kevin Shorter, RB/S, Newton, 6-0, 190 — committed to Texas; additional offers from Arkansas, Army, Baylor, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Houston, Kansas, LSU, Maryland, Miami, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma, San Diego State, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, UCLA, ULM, Utah (22)
- Brian Thlang, OL, Palestine, 6-2, 290 — committed ULM (1)
- Wesley Thompson, ATH, Chapel Hill, 6-1, 185 — committed to ULM (1)
- Josh Walker, RB/LB, Gilmer, 6-1, 220 — committed to Texas A&M; additional offers from Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech (4)
- D.J. Williams, DT, Lufkin, 6-4, 293 — offers from Houston, Miami, Missouri, North Texas, Oklahoma (5)
- Jeffery Wilson, RB, Elkhart, 6-0, 190 — offers from New Mexico State, North Texas, Texas State, ULM (4)