Tennessee 'at the top' for standout JUCO LB Lakia Henry
Lakia Henry is one of the top junior college prospects in the country, but the 6-foot-2, 230-pound linebacker from Dodge City (Kan.) C.C. had yet to make a single college visit.
That changed this weekend, and with it, so did Henry’s leaderboard.
The middle linebacker spent Friday and Saturday at Tennessee and quickly became enamored with the Vols. Following the visit, the future blue-chip linebacker told VolQuest, “Tennessee is No. 1 right now. No doubt.”
“I enjoyed the coaching staff. They were really nice people. The facilities, the stadium, they were insane. Everything about Tennessee. … Tennessee set the bar high. Basically.”
Henry, who holds 15 offers, had 110 tackles, 13.5 TFLs, 1 interception and 2.5 sacks in his first season at Dodge City. He has three years to play two at the next level and plans on enrolling at his school of choice in January.
During his weekend visit, Tennessee certainly made Henry feel like a priority, essentially giving the JUCO standout a mini unofficial-official visit. He got lots of 1-on-1 time with defensive coordinator Kevin Sherrer and head coach Jeremy Pruitt, with both coaches expressing exactly what they liked about Henry’s game.
“They said I was very violent when I got to the ball. They told me I can defend the pass and the run and that’s somebody they need at linebacker,” he said.
“Coach Pruitt is a really good coach. He’s got a really good resume. I think he’s going to turn Tennessee football around honestly.”
As a JUCO, much of Henry’s focus during the visit was on academics. Pruitt stressed the importance of getting his degree if Henry ultimately committed to the Vols, saying, “There wasn’t a whole lot of football talk, more academic talk on my end because I struggled with academics.
“The main thing for me is to graduate if I come to Tennessee. We didn’t talk a lot of football. They said I’m a good football player. And they can develop a good football player, but they said my talents aren’t going to be a problem. I just have to get my academics straight.”
While Tennessee currently sits in the catbird seat for the physical middle linebacker, Henry has plans to see Ole Miss, Nebraska and Alabama — three schools recruiting him hard — in the coming weeks. Texas A&M and Texas want to get him on campus soon, too. Then a decision could be forthcoming.
“Tennessee is at the top of my list right now, but I have so more schools to visit first. I’m going to visit more schools soon and then we’ll see how it goes from there, but Tennessee is No. 1 right now,” Henry said. “I want to (commit) before I start my last year. It might be really soon honestly. Once I visit these schools I’ll be able to make my decision.”