This eagle plans to fly high on the next level

This eagle plans to fly high on the next level
February 22
04:00 2018

Jarel Henry is the latest in a long line of football players from East Forsyth High School to obtain a scholarship to play on the collegiate level.  This fall Henry will lace his cleats up to play for the Cougars of Clark University in Atlanta.

Henry was a standout wide receiver for the Eagles this past season.  After waiting his turn due to the wealth of depth the Eagles had at the wideout position, Henry was finally able to show what he could do his senior year.

Eagles head coach Todd Willert said Henry came into this season with sincere effort to become a better player. 

“The biggest thing that changed this year was that he took football a lot more serious,” said Willert.  “He had a lot of success this year because he had a great off season and all that speed he has really helped him.”

“If he keeps working, the best is yet to come,” he continued.  “When you have speed and hands, you can put in some major work at the next level.  We always expect big things from our guys that go on to the next level.”

For Henry, he began playing football at the age of 4.  He instantly took to the game and feels no other sport can offer what football can.

“First, I had a dream of playing the quarterback position, but I soon realized I didn’t have the arm to throw, so receiver is the position I ended up in, and I am happy,” said Henry.

He says his time at East Forsyth has been a journey.  He started out at the bottom of the depth chart once he made it to the varsity level but worked his way into the starting lineup his senior year.

Henry made the best of his time as a starter.  He holds the record at East for the longest reception (96 yards) as well as the most receiving yards in a game (203 yards).

“In my junior year I was disappointed in myself because I did not get the time on the field I wanted,” he said.  “I took it upon myself to just work hard until there was no question who deserved to be playing.”

As for why he chose Clark, Henry said he took a tour of the school while participating in the Black Achievers program at East.  He says he “fell in love with the school” and knew he wanted to be at a school such as Clark.

Henry has high hopes for himself once he makes it on campus.  He has a dream of one day becoming an entrepreneur. He has prepared well by earning college credits while still in high school along with being a part of several organizations, such as Black Achievers, the Finance Academy and No’Bacco, which is a youth tobacco prevention club.

“In the classroom I just want to do whatever I can to take steps to be successful from a business standpoint,” Henry continued.  “I want to work hard and get good grades and finish with over a 3.0. 

“When it comes to football, I want to go down there and work hard because I know nothing will be given to me,” he went on to say.  “I want to work as hard as I can to be successful.”

Another point of inspiration for Henry is his mother, who passed away when he was 14.  He says his mother was the closest person to him and wants to continue making her proud.

“She passed away at three o’clock in the morning, and on that same day I played a football game,” Henry said.  “It definitely affected me, but football was the thing that kept me happy and fighting.”

Will Henry, Jarel’s father, says he can’t explain how proud of Jerel he is.  He feels Jarel’s work ethic was a major contributor in him making it to the next level.

“I am very proud of him academically and I am very proud of him athletically,” said Mr. Henry.  “Having seen everything he has gone through and to overcome it is nothing but God, in my opinion.”

Mr. Henry says they write their goals on a mirror with a dry erase marker and Jarel has been able to achieve all of them.  He expects Jarel to be successful on and off the field even with all of the distractions that can come to a student athlete.

“His work ethic is really, really sound,” said Mr. Henry of Jarel.  “He has really prepared himself for that atmosphere and we have been around HBCUs, so I think he will be fine.”

Jarel says he is nervous about the transition to college but knows if he focuses on the important things, he will do well.  He said he will miss the camaraderie with his teammates and his friends.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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