UK Football: Incoming LB Henderson 'always on go' to make tackles
Khalid Henderson, a freshman linebacker at Kentucky, could get a long look during preseason practice, as the Wildcats have no returning starters at linebacker. (Katie Decker / August 5, 2012)
“Lights out. Always on go. I like to use the term, ‘Straight gas. No brakes.’ Like pedal to the metal. We are always going fast and hard every play,” said the 6-1, 220-pound player from Georgia.
He made 74 tackles and had two interceptions at Pebblebrook High School in Mableton, Ga., last season and was ranked as the nation’s No. 19 outside linebacker by ESPN.
“He's a very focused, very determined, willing to learn. He came for spring practice, and all he did was follow Rick Minter. He's a Rick Minter type of guy. He's a ball coach is what he is on the field, and you better have that at the linebacker position,” Phillips said Friday during Kentucky’s media day.
Kentucky does not have a returning starting linebacker, one reason Minter expects to give Henderson a long look in preseason practice.
“I know what the older guys can do. I have to find out what he can do, and I think he can do plenty,” Minter said.
Henderson hopes so.
“I feel like the opportunity to play this year is there. I just have to put in the work to reflect that and then my coaches will tell me if my time and work are there,” Henderson said.
Here are other thoughts he shared during media day:
Question: Did you have a scholarship offer from Air Force?
Henderson: “That was my first offer. It kind of did intrigue me. First, I was honored to be offered by Air Force. That is a prestigious school, very prestigious. I was doing backflips in the middle of the street and everything when I got that first offer, and I felt proud it was them and got that first offer.”
Question: Did you consider going to Air Force?
Henderson: “I actually did consider them because one of my high school teammates was committed there and went there.”
Question: If you were being recruited by Air Force, is it fair to assume academics are important to you and your family?
Henderson: “I am good in academics. My mom does not play about academics. She never let me get lackadaisical about that. She would get on me if needed. She instilled those values in me at a young age to come home, do your homework and stuff.”
Question: How fast are you?
Henderson: “I am very fast. My fastest recorded time in high school was a 4.47 (seconds in the 40-yard dash) but probably now about a 4.51. That is my speed right now.”
Question: How big a part of your play is determined by your speed?
Henderson: “What gets me to the ball is my instinct for the game. I know my opponent than they know themselves. I promise.”