Henderson headlines Evangel class, signs with Vols

Corey Henderson signs with the University of Tennessee.

Corey Henderson signs with the University of Tennessee.

Corey Henderson compared National Signing Day to Christmas Day.

He must have been a kid that liked to sleep in Christmas morning.

Henderson, who was only making things official with the University of Tennessee having been verbally committed to the Volunteers since last March, showed up fashionably late for Evangel’s signing day ceremony on Wednesday.

“Typical Corey, making sure the spotlight’s on him,” one of his Eagles teammates joked from the crowd that had gathered inside.

Ironically, Henderson has taken the opposite approach with his game on the field. Hampered by injury, the wide out caught 42 passes for 435 yards and three touchdowns last season. He had 21 catches for 277 yards and six total touchdowns as a junior.

Despite not putting up what some would perceive as Division I numbers, the Volunteers stuck with Henderson and his stuck with the Vols.

“I feel at home at Tennessee,” Henderson said. “I have a very good relationship with the coaches there.

“I narrowed it down pretty early and stayed loyal.”

His teammates Jamarqueza Mims and Jeremias Houston also signed their letters of intent to Southern University on Wednesday. Houston thanked Henderson for the advice and support when he would call late at night needing motivation.

However, Henderson was every bit as happy for his teammates as they were for him.

“I’m so proud of them,” Henderson said. “Those are my boys. Since day one.

“Before everybody wakes up in the morning we’re out here grinding and I’m glad it paid off for all of us.”

Eagles head coach Byron Dawson said his main goal during the recruiting process is provide insight and information. He went through the same things in the late 1990s when he eventually signed with LSU out of Evangel.

Times have changed since then, but he’s willing to get as involved as the kids want or need him to be.

“It’s tough with social media and all the different ways fans can make comments and bother the kids on Twitter,” Dawson said. “This is way more complex than when I was coming out.”

He praised Henderson for dealing with fans maturely, even when that wasn’t necessarily the easy thing to do.

With so many of the top recruits in the state signing with LSU, Henderson’s excited for a friendly rivalry to develop.

“Playing against them will be great,” he said. “Playing against my home state is kind of a thing that you have to get your respect from. A lot of respect you lose from leaving your state. Getting to play against them and being able to compete and actually try and beat them will be great for me.”

As for his knowledge of Tennessee’s fight song, Rocky Top: “I’m learning it. I’m learning it all.”

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