Tennessee landed one of Atlanta’s best-kept secrets on Tuesday.
Khalid Henderson, who plays linebacker at Cobb County’s Pebblebrook High School, committed to Tennessee only minutes after being offered by Volunteers coach Derek Dooley. Henderson was an emerging prospect who already had 13 offers, including Louisville, UConn, Troy, Middle Tennessee State, Ball State, and Georgia State.
“Coach Dooley was a little surprised when I committed,” Henderson told the AJC. “It was like he didn’t want to put pressure of me to commit. He asked me ‘What other camps do you plan on attending this summer?’ I told him probably Clemson, Georgia Tech and some others; Then I said ‘Coach, you don’t have to worry about that because you’ve got a Volunteer with me.’ He was really excited to hear that, congratulated me, and welcomed me to the Tennessee family.”
The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder blew away Tennessee’s coaches with his performance at a recent camp, leading up to Tuesday’s offer from the Volunteers. Henderson was invited to last Saturday’s Mark Richt Camp by UGA assistant Will Friend but couldn’t make it due to taking the ACT test. Many other SEC and ACC schools had expressed heavy interest, requesting Henderson to show up at camp to be evaluated for an offer.
“I really like Tennessee,” Henderson. “When I visited there, I really liked the campus and atmosphere. I really like the coaches, and get along with them well. They told me, after the way I performed at camp, it was only a matter of time before they offered. When they did, I took it.”
Henderson is a three-year starter at Pebblebrook, and led the team in tackles last year. He had a season-high 13 tackles against Campbell. When Pebblebrook had injuries at tailback last season, Henderson was inserted into the game on offense and had a 65-yard run on his first carry. Henderson has a summer job at Six Flags. He wants to study business and sports management in college. “I want to be a sports agent. I just have a passion for that. I can’t see myself doing anything outside of the sports industry because I love it so much.”
Pebblebrook coach Randall Smith said Clemson, South Florida, Central Florida, Kentucky and Purdue were among the other colleges beginning to inquire about and recruit Henderson. “He has got great size and speed, running a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash. That’s what he can do at linebacker — cover guys in the open field on the outside, and play inside with the big boys, when needed.”
Pebblebrook has two other players that project to sign with major colleges — QB CJ Goodman (6-0, 170) is being evaluated by Georgia Tech, Navy and Georgia Southern at QB, Clemson as an athlete, and by Tennessee at WR; LB Sertonuse Harris (6-0, 185) has generated interest from Navy, Troy and Middle Tennessee State.
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