Jaquan Henderson has made headlines several times during the last two football seasons, not just for his football prowess as a 4-star linebacker prospect at Newton, but also for the times he’s flipped commitment.
Originally he committed to UCLA. Then he backed out of that and switched to Tennessee.
It appeared, as recently as December, that the Vols would be the ones to win the Henderson sweepstakes. But two weeks prior to Wednesday’s National Signing Day — a day known for the drama that comes with high school senior athletes making last minute college decisions — Henderson switched again, this time landing his commitment with Georgia Tech.
During Wednesday’s signing ceremony at Newton High, the 6-foot-1, 190-pound outside linebacker signified the end of the flipping as he donned a Georgia Tech hat and jacket, moments before taking the Newton High auditorium stage to make his commitment to the Yellow Jackets official.
And while some may bemoan the fluctuating fancies of prospective college athletes, Newton head football coach Terrence Banks says he urges his athletes — including Henderson — to do whatever they need to do to ensure they make the right decision for themselves.
“I told Jaquan that at the end of the day, it’s about him and the school he’d be attending for the next three to five years,” Banks said. “None of us will be there going to that school with him. That’s a decision he has to make, and I told him I would do what I could to support him, but ultimately it’s all about what would make him happy.”
Said Henderson: “Through this whole process, it caused me to gain maturity and to grow up and be a man and make the best decision for myself, with me and my family. That Georgia Tech degree, you can’t beat it. It means a lot in the industry and business world. So with the education and the football, I felt it was the total package.”
Banks said Tech “stayed on him” from the beginning, and the persistence paid off as Henderson was also lured by the possibility of staying close enough to home but far away from Covington to feel the full going-away-from-home college experience.
“He saw that being downtown he’d still be far enough away,” Banks said. “Plus, I think these kids like Jaquan and Jeremiah more and more want to stick around put on for their state. I think that made it a deal at the end.”