Oak Creek, Wis., always has a target on its back as one of the top programs in Wisconsin and in the nation. But four-star strongside defensive end Raymond Henderson doesn’t mind that. He uses that tradition as motivation.
“We know we have a target on our back,” Henderson, who is 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, said.
“It’s a good thing. I guess people try make their own name against us. It’s like a big fight every time. We’re the kings of Southeast part of the state, and every game is a championship fight. Everybody wants a piece of us.
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“That motivates me. If they want to test me, that’s fine. If they don’t think I’m very good that makes me ma and I want to go out there and show them it’s not all words. I’m go show them that I’m not cocky or that it’s just words.”
With the season opener tonight, the Oak Creek team will get it’s first battle, but the biggest early challenge comes next week when they battle Franklin, their cross-town rival.
But Henderson has something for Franklin and other teams.
“I think I’m more focused mentally,” he said. “I came in with a mild mentality last year. I’m more focused now. I’ve control my chaos now. Last year, I was so hyped up on every play. I would over pursue and they would run a draw right where I was supposed to be. I’ve now learned to control my chaos, and I think that’s going to help me make more tackles and be more under control.”
What’s also about to come under control is Henderson’s recruiting. He’s still got a long list of teams after him – including LSU, USC, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Tennessee – and he has a plan to reduce things soon.
“I’d like to get the list down to a manageable number around September 1,” Henderson said. “I better get ready to do that, or it’s going to be crazy with all the coaches calling. I need to get where I can break down the schools, and get my top five in line as I move further into the season.”
Henderson did indicate that one team will get a visit for sure – LSU.
“I just got off the phone with my uncle,” he said. “He’s down there in Louisiana. Actually, I also have a sister at Southern there in Baton Rouge. I lived with my sister for 15 years, so I’d be happy to visit down there.”
Henderson would also like to visit USC – but the Trojans have yet to offer him a scholarship at this point.