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February 21, 2013

Henderson pushes through adversity to success

The Longview (Texas) boy's high school basketball team lost on Tuesday night in a playoff matchup ending their season. Zaycoven Henderson is not letting that keep him down. In fact, he is excited to get back to work and transition from the court's front line to the trenches on the gridiron.

"It is disappointing, but now it's time to get back to football," said the 6-foot-2 defensive tackle. "I'm going to Texas A&M's junior day and my goal is to leave with an offer. It feels great to know that A&M is showing interest. They are just getting it done down there and winning. They were one of the top in the SEC and that Johnny Football is just amazing."

Even though Henderson said the thought of committing at Oklahoma's junior day did come across his mind, he does not have a favorite at this time. However, it was only a couple of weeks ago he told AggieYell's Jeff Tarpley that A&M was a definite front runner. Could it be that Henderson is waiting for an offer to name A&M a favorite or possibly even commit on the spot?

Only time will tell. At this time what is certain, the defensive tackle already holds an offer from the likes of Oklahoma, SMU, TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma State. He has been to the Oklahoma junior day, will travel just down the road to attend TCU's this weekend and, in a little over week, will reconnect with some familiar faces in College Station.

"I talk with Coach Anderson from A&M," he said. "I know a couple of guys in the area with ties there too. I know the two defensive ends committed, Jordan Points and Jay Arnold and a 2015 defensive tackle being heavily recruited by a lot of top schools, Daylon Mack."

There is a lot of competition to fill the needs for the Aggies but that is something Henderson is ready to fight for. He is motivated on the field from a memory and his stepmom who he says gave him life again.

"During all of this I really turn towards my mom, Melissa Henderson. She's my stepmom, but she's been there for me through thick and thin. That's my mom, there for me during the ups and downs. My dad is a big part of my life too but he has to work all of the time," he explained. "My mom is there 365 days a year, so she is who I usually talk with. She tells me to always keep my head up. She has helped me to forgive and forget and move forward."

Henderson needed that help after a painful experience more than five years ago.

"It was September 2007," He remembers exactly. "I was living in Louisiana with my biological mother and stepdad -- and I was beaten. My stepmom came and got me and took me in. On the field I wear it on my sleeve and it feels like nothing can stop me. Off the field it's my motivation for a good future and pushes me to do the next right thing."

Fueled with passion and the hope for a good future, Henderson is ready to visit A&M. He has a very good idea of what he'll be looking for.

"I'm looking for a great player coach relationship, somewhere it feels like family," he said.

Distance is no factor for Henderson, near or far; he knows his family will be there.

"Even though I'm very close to my family," he said, "I will go to the school where I feel most comfortable, wherever that may be."


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