In our countdown to kick off series, we continue our player previews with junior defensive lineman Jaquan Henderson.
Defensive lineman Jaquan Henderson was a member of the class of 2017 and ranked the 23rd best linebacker of the class by ESPN. The Yellow Jackets weren’t his first choice in his recruitment, originally committing to the Tennessee Volunteers. A little later in the cycle, Henderson however would find The Flats as the place be wanted to be, committing to then head coach Paul Johnson and the Georgia Tech football program.
In 2017 as a true freshman saw considerable playing time for the Yellow Jackets with most of that time coming on special teams where he had a decent impact and was one of the teams top special teams performers. It was a quality start to his career and one that he was expected to build on coming into 2018.
In his sophomore season, Henderson recorded 12 tackles in eight games before suffering an injury against Virginia Tech that derailed his season. While the injury certainly hampered his season, he had quality showings at time despite not getting a ton of playing time. During the spring scrimmage this past year , Henderson was used at the EDGE position with the first-string defense. The EDGE position can be best described as a hybrid defensive lineman and linebacker who has a variety of duties while on the field. This was pretty big indicator of how the coaching staff feels about his potential value and fit coming into the season.
Henderson brings speed to his position which makes him a great fit for the EDGE position and a potential impact player on the new defense. The EDGE position calls generally for both speed on the pass rush but also the ability to cover the middle of the field on pass plays. Henderson’s speed should aid him in both of those areas and not being the biggest lineman/linebacker either should also come to be an advantage for the former four-star recruit.
In 2019, Henderson will likely see more playing time this season as the defensive side of the ball is going to require a bit more of a rotation between the larger linebackers spending time at lineman and the EDGE players filling the void at true linebacker. No matter what position he ultimately inherits it can be almost guaranteed that Henderson will be looked upon to be a top option at the EDGE position in 2019.