By: Brendan C. Hall, USA TODAY High School Sports | September 22, 2018
Hudson Henry recalled being pretty overwhelmed at his Under Armour All-American jersey presentation, inside the gymnasium at Pulaski Academy (Little Rock, Ark.) on Friday morning.
Two years ago, back before all the accolades poured in, when he was just a skinny kid in the shadow of his more famous older brother, Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry, Hudson said he “never thought I would have been here.”
“Hunter got all the big accolades,” Hudson says of his older brother, who himself played played in the Under Armour All-American Bowl back in 2012. “I never thought I’d be in the same position he is. That’s part of what drove me – am I ever gonna be at that point? Am I ever gonna be as good or better than Hunter? I think that drove me two years ago to become the player that I am.”
Henry, a Preseason ALL-USA selection, came into this season regarded as one of the nation’s surest sets of hands among tight ends, after a monster 2017 campaign in which he caught 72 passes for 982 yards and 10 touchdowns, as the Bruins won a fourth straight state title.
In Pulaski’s spread attack, the 6-foot-5, 225-pound Henry is at his most dangerous from the slot, where he’s apt to run his favorite route, a deep cross with an option to settle in the middle of the field based on a read of the middle linebacker. So far this year he’s had great results, averaging 13.5 yards a catch totaling 325 yards with two scores through three games.
He’s brimming with assertiveness on the field as well, one of the many lessons Hunter has instilled upon him.
“I think one of the most important things he’s told me is to stay humble,” Hudson says. “If you get too big-headed and think you’re all that, you’re going to be brought down a level. I think the main thing he tells me is that confidence is key. You’ve got to go out there and know what kind of player you want to be.”
Hunter, meanwhile, appears to be rehabbing well since tearing his ACL back in May — “He’s way ahead of where he would be normally,” Hudson says.
Back in May, Hudson announced his final five schools — Stanford, Wisconsin, Penn State, Clemson and his hometown Arkansas — and says he hasn’t planned any official visits yet, instead keeping his focus on the season at hand.
“Honestly, it just depends on God’s timing,” he says. “I’ve been really praying about a decision for about a year now, when He put something in my heart for the place that I need go to, I’ll be ready. Whether it be tomorrow or whether it be signing day [in February], I’m just gonna follow His will and plan for me.”
Naturally, Hudson says he fields a lot of questions of whether he would continue the Henry legacy up the road in Fayetteville, where Hunter was an All-American for the Razorbacks in 2015, but that at the end of the day it might not be the best fit.
“That [legacy] is great, but Arkansas may not be the place for me, and I think I’m fine with that,” Hudson says. “Wherever God wants to put me, he’s put me there for a reason. If it’s Arkansas, great. If it’s not, great. I’m just gonna go to the place that best suits me.”
The Under Armour All-America Game is scheduled for Jan. 3 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla. and will be televised live on ESPN2 at 6 p.m. EST.
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