Explosive Henderson honing WR skills
A bit of a knee sprain coupled with some work on the track has left Corey Henderson awaiting an opportunity to show a more complete skill-set on the gridiron.
Tuesday afternoon, the 6-foot-1, 170-pound speedster who two months ago committed to the University of Tennessee gets his opportunity to shine.
"I want to prove that I can be more than just a screen guy. Most people label me as (saying) 'He's the guy who can catch screen and take it for a big play,'" Henderson told VolQuest.com. "I want to prove that I can stretch the field on go routes and posts. To show I'm good on other routes than just screens.
"I've been working hard, and I'm trying to get them to stretch the offense down the field to show what I can do."
While Henderson previously has played both quarterback and wideout for his powerful Evangel Christian (Shreveport, La.) squad, he's embracing the many details he wants to refine in order to become a more polished player on the perimeter.
"Mainly I've been really trying to finish at the end of my routes," said Henderson, who anticipates a June return trip to Rocky Top and intends to bring his friend and recent recipient of a Vols' offer, , with him. "I feel my strength is being explosive toward the end of my routes and breaking out and trying to speed out of my cuts, stop on a dime. Sometimes find myself stumbling at end of my routes. Top of my routes.
"I got with my receivers coach, and then I got some film from last year, got some cones and I've been outside with receivers after school working on things, drills that my coach could give me that I could do. I had sprained my knee at the beginning of spring a little bit, but I just had to work around the injury I had. I'm really back at it right now. The spring game is going to be back at full-action again."
Selfless to not want to impede his teammates' work while recovering from the knee sprain, Henderson did what work he could during the early portions of spring and then grabbed teammates for additional reps after practices.
"We do a lot during practice; it's already enough work but I just felt like it was something else I could do," Henderson said. 'I didn't want to slow down the drills because of my injury and so I would do all that I could during practice and then do it again to my full potential."
Henderson said a close-knit relationship with Tennessee wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni, among other positive interactions with Vols' coaches, has further motivated him to discover that full potential.
"My phone has been broken and it's been hard getting in contact with him, but I've got nothing but good things to say about Coach Z," Henderson explained. "He's the best coach I've ever had. I feel at home when I'm up there, it's a always a great conversation. He's always tweeting me, sending me pictures [of Vol football via direct message] and keeping my mind on Tennessee, which I love to see a lot. It's great to have him as a coach and my future coach.
"(Defensive back) Andraez Williams, he was just offered by Tennessee, he wants to visit up there bad. I'm going to get him up there, probably in the next four weeks. He's a friend of mine, a potential future teammate with me. He wants to see what Tennessee's about and what I love about it."
After his earlier trip to Rocky Top that ultimately led to his commitment, Henderson couldn't wait to share with his mother --- "the heartbeat" of the family --- what it was about Tennessee that spurred his pledge.
"She's the heartbeat of the household; getting her on board with the recruiting process and what school I'm going to is definitely key," he said. "Especially with Tennessee, when I came back from my first visit, and I was all wild about it, I kind of called and let them know I want to commit to Tennessee (while in Knoxville). She said, 'Wait, wait, tell me about this.' I let her know how I felt about it, getting her on board, getting Coach (Butch) Jones, Coach Z, Coach Gillespie, all on board and my dad, too. But my mom is the main one.
"She's the heartbeat."