“It’s a real honor being the first one to come out of Cobb County, knowing the players that it produces” Henkle said. “Now that I have it over with, I can focus on this year, my teammates and look forward to this next year.”
South Paulding athlete Chandler Burks became the first player overall to commit last Tuesday, which was followed by Harris County cornerback A.J. Howard on Saturday.
Henkle is expected to be a part of Kennesaw State’s inaugural signing class of 2014 on National Signing Day. They will practice for the entire fall of 2014 and will be redshirt freshman when Kennesaw State plays its initial game at Fifth third Bank Stadium in the fall of 2015.
He is the fourth player out of the Kell defensive backfield that will likely play Division I football. Henkle follows Tennessee’s Brian Randolph, who Henkle started next to when he was a freshman. Last year, he shared the defensive backfield with Brendan Langley and Quincy Mauger, who both signed with Georgia and will be in Athens beginning in the fall.
Knowing that Kennesaw State could go through some bumps as a first-year program doesn’t faze Henkle.
“It’s the process (of building a team) that I like,” said the rising Kell senior. “Being able to put on the first jersey, setting new traditions on what we do there. Being at KSU is going to be fun. We’re setting everything up on how we want to deem our first senior class.”
Henkle said Brian Bohannon, who was named Kennesaw State’s first head coach March 24, has shown interest in him as early as his freshman year when Bohannon was a Georgia Tech assistant under Paul Johnson and that factored into his final decision.
Georgia Tech, Duke, North Carolina State, Tennessee, Florida State and UAB also showed interest in the 5-foot-11, 190-pounder but Henkle said the Owls were the better fit.
“Everything is top notch (at Kennesaw State) and is the biggest unknown secret,” Henkle said. “I sat down and talked to Coach Bohannon and he offered me. I felt like committing to Kennesaw State was the best thing to do.”
If there is one area of his game Henkle takes pride in, he said it’s tackling whoever has the ball. But between now and the fall of 2015, Henkle admitted he needs to be faster. Currently, he is reported to run a 4.6 second 40-yard dash.
The second team all-state player had 69 tackles (51 solo) a year ago in leading Kell to a 10-2 record before falling to eventual state champion Gainesville in the second round. He also had three interceptions – two of them coming against Sprayberry – and three pass breakups.
“There’s not a better kid out there, and I think he’s a great football player,” Kell coach Derek Cook said. “In terms of a football player, I don’t know if I have had anyone who is more down-to-earth. He’s got a great football IQ and what he may lack (in skill), he makes up for it with his intelligence.”