Henry recaps his first year at Clemson thus far

Henry will look to hit the ground running for his redshirt freshman season next year.

Henry recaps his first year at Clemson thus far
December 07
10:40 2018

K.J. Henry had a stellar high school career at West Forsyth High School. Now in his freshman year at Clemson University, Henry reflects on his first campaign at the next level, thus far.

Henry will redshirt his freshman year, but he was able to take advantage of the new rule and play four games before the decision to redshirt him came. He feels he is ready for a breakout year next season.

“My first year is going great. I think obviously with me redshirting, I have used that and made that a good thing for me in the weight room and my skillset,” said Henry. “I feel like being able to work on things off the field and just getting myself ready to be successful next year was a big step for me over the course of this season.”

The fact that Henry had the opportunity to play in four games before redshirting will serve him well going into next season, he said.

“Whoever came up with this rule is really special, because it helped me realize things I needed to work on and at the same time allowed me to shake off some nerves,” he said.  “Obviously, in your first couple of games playing college football, there are going to be some nerves there. By game three and four I definitely felt more comfortable out there.”

The Clemson defensive line boasts three potential first round draft picks for next year’s NFL draft. Henry says he has learned a lot playing and practicing alongside those great players.

“The coaches talk about it all the time, because you don’t see that at a lot of schools where guys with this much potential and talent come back all in one year,” he said about his fellow defensive linemen. “With them leading us young guys, we didn’t have to figure things out ourselves.

“We are just learning from them about what it’s like to win, what it’s like to work hard and really show us how to do things the right way,” he continued. “It’s been a blessing in disguise for me, especially with Clelin (Ferrell) being as successful as he has, he started his career as a redshirt as well and so I had the chance to talk to him about the path that I am taking. He has really been a helpful person for me.”

Clemson will probably lose three of their four starters on the defensive line to the NFL, so next season will be a big one for Henry. He should be able to hit the ground running, learning from some of the best that college football has to offer.

“For me, it’s just to play hard and that sounds very simple, but that is one of the biggest things that I have learned from these guys,” he went on to say about his expectations for next season. “At this level, when you have a skillset that is unmatched and then you put good effort with it, it becomes something special.”

Henry stated that college was everything he thought it was going to be. He says the reason why he took a long time during his recruiting process was to absorb as much information as possible, so he would not be surprised once he arrived on whichever campus he chose. The biggest point of emphasis on the field for Henry was for him to get stronger. He says he was “playing catchup” early on, because he did not lift as much during his junior and senior seasons in high school.

“The biggest thing for me was to definitely get stronger and then I wanted to fine-tune some things on the field as far as reading blocks and playing both defensive end spots,” he said.

Working out on a more consistent basis and knowing your opponent by watching game film are the two biggest differences from playing high school football versus college. , he said The Clemson Tigers defeated the University of Pittsburgh in the ACC Championship game this past Saturday. They were selected as a participant in the college football playoffs and will face Notre Dame on Dec. 29.  If victorious, they will face the winner of Alabama/Oklahoma in the National Championship game.

Henry says the Tigers’ focus is to take it “one game at a time.”  He said they did not take Pitt lightly because the Panthers beat Clemson two years ago. He says they will now focus their attention to the Fighting Irish.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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