FAYETTEVILLE — Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes Class of 2022 three-star center Eli Henderson committed to University of Arkansas on Monday night.
Henderson, 6-4, 290, chose the Razorbacks over Georgia and Arizona State as well as many others. He talked about why he chose the Hogs on Tuesday morning.
“Honestly it was the relationship between (Sam) Pittman and me and Coach (Brad) Davis and me. I have known Pittman since I started this recruitment process and he gave me my first offer (while at Georgia). So that’s big because he didn’t really need to see much from anyone else he just wanted to see what I could do. He believed in me and that goes a long way.”
Henderson and his family left South Carolina this past Thursday morning and arrived in Fayetteville on Friday afternoon for a visit.
“After I took that visit up there I kinda seen the atmosphere and I seen the town and I saw everything,” Henderson said. “Everybody was so nice. I took a look at the stadium and I thought this is me.
“Me and my family kinda knew Arkansas was gonna be the place I go and we wanted to take a visit up there. The coaches didn’t even know. We just drove up there.”
Pittman was hired as head football coach at Arkansas on Sunday, Dec. 8. It was just 11 days later he extended an offer to Henderson. That meant a lot to Henderson.
“Like me and my dad were talking about it and he offered me at Georgia,” Henderson said. “If he really didn’t feel confident in me that was kinda his cop-out. He could have not offered me back at Arkansas and went separate ways.
“I called him that night and the first thing he said was, ‘How would you like to be a Razorback?’ I loved that and he extended an offer that second. That showed how much he believed in me and how much he wants me. So that’s hard to turn down.”
Henderson talked about what he feels are his strengths on the football field.
“Honestly, this is one of the reasons I’m moving to center this year I’m good at just announcing for the offensive line and being the dude that calls hey this guy is here and this guy is there,” Henderson said. “What you got and what I got? I’m very prominent in my voice. I know football. I breathe and live football. I’m dang near coaching with the coaches out there. When I’m on the field you have got to have that mentality I’m the best and I’m gonna show you why. I try to keep that mentality. Be technical, but a maniac at the same time.”
When Pittman got the job at Arkansas the first assistant he hired was Davis to coach the offensive line. Davis, like Pittman, has impressed Henderson.
“Coach Davis is one of the most genuine persons you will probably ever meet,” Henderson said. “He talks to you and when he talks he doesn’t put on. A lot of these recruiters, I’ve talked to a lot of the coaches the past few months. You can kinda tell who is real and who is not. But coach Davis he coaches the way I like to be coached. He will cuss you out, but at the end of the day he will tell you I love you. That’s what I want. I believe in what he’s doing and I believe in what they are doing. I want to play for him.”
Henderson said the COVID-19 is creating havoc with high school football in South Carolina much like elsewhere.
“The season got pushed back a week or two after it was originally supposed to go,” Henderson said. “We’re kinda in limbo right now. We’re still doing workouts and we’re still doing all that working. We’re kinda at the mercy at the high school league.”
Henderson is the third commitment for Arkansas in 2022.
JJ Hollingsworth, DE, 6-4, 250, Greenland
Dax Courtney, TE, 6-6, 210, DeWitt
Eli Henderson, C, 6-4, 290, Duncan Byrnes, S.C.
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