Five-star DE K.J. Henry on Georgia visit - "I get a great feeling there"
Clemmons (N.C.) West Forsyth is deep in the basketball playoffs so that means five-star defensive end K.J. Henry hasn't been able to take as many visits as he'd like. Georgia was lucky enough to get Henry on campus recently and he had nothing but great things to say about the trip.
IN HIS OWN WORDS…
"I've been trying to get out and see some more schools that I'm interested in, Georgia being the latest one," Henry said. "I'm trying to get to South Carolina, Clemson, and Alabama but with basketball going on it's definitely a battle in itself.
"Every time I go to Georgia I get a great feeling there," he said. "They're really welcoming. Coach Smart is a great guy, a young guy in the profession. He's cool and is doing everything the right way. He's a family man and he school itself is great academically. That's something I try to work for and I want to make sure I'm showing everyone I'm good in the classroom as well. I think Georgia has stood out when thinking about my attributes and strengths.
"The coaches say they could see me doing something big for their program," said Henry. "They struggled this year but are trying to get back to playing elite ball and they think I could be one of those guys that help them get there. They like my endless pursuit to the football, my motor. They just like me as a player and person and I give them the same respect.
"Going on trips like that you don't want them to be so serious," he said. "You want to have a good time and meet new people. I got to see my boy Micah Parsons. We hung out and enjoyed the basketball game. You don't want it to be so stressful that it's not fun. We're still high school kids so I think trying to have fun was the main goal and we definitely did it.
"I want to visit Clemson, Alabama, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, and I'd like to get back up to Ohio State even though that's pretty far away up north," Henry said. "That's going to be a harder one to get to so I think going up to their game against Michigan last year was big for them. I don't have any dates for these visits and that's strictly because of basketball and now that my dad has a new job at UNC-Charlotte that will play into it also.
"Alabama, Clemson, and Ohio State are safe bets to make my short list," he said. "My family and I are going to work on cutting my list down before spring ball comes around because I've learned that coaches just want you to be upfront and honest with them. They don't want to waste their time. They've given me their respect by recruiting me but if I know I'm not going to attend their school they definitely need to know that. I think my list will be between five and 15 but I honestly don't know yet.
"The tradition at my position at Alabama has been very successful," said Henry. "They have two going out this year in the first or second round of the draft. They were explosive off the edge and could play in space and that's the kind of player that I am. I think I could see myself in that position one day. As a whole, it's an elite program that has five-stars across the board and is competing for a National Championship every year. I definitely need to give them a chance for those reasons.
"For Clemson, them losing coach Hobby and then getting coach Bates, there is no fall off there for me," he said. "Coach Bates is a great coach. I loved coach Hobby and I told him congrats when he got his new job. I understand this is a business because of my dad. Coach Bates is a great man as well. The new coaching situation at Clemson doesn't affect me at all. I'm definitely trying to pick up the conversations with coach Bates. We talk a couple times a week, trying to get to know each other. He's not late but he needs to find out who I am and I need to find out who he is so we can get back to that Clemson connection.
"I mostly talk to coach Schiano and coach Meyer at Ohio State," Henry said. "When I go up there I need to kick it with coach Johnson. He's a great guy and a great defensive line coach. That whole staff is really good and the atmosphere there is one of a kind. Going to their game against Michigan was one of the best things I've ever done. It's always good talking with those guys."
Georgia certainly seems like a likely candidate to make Henry's short list along with Alabama, Clemson, and Ohio State. It sounds like Kirby Smart and his staff did a great job with Henry and his family during his recent visit. Even though Ohio State has made a very good impression on Henry, it seems more likely that he will end up at a school in the south with Clemson, Alabama, or even Georgia as likely candidates right now. South Carolina and Virginia Tech will definitely play a bigger role in Henry's recruitment as it moves forward as well.