Coastal Carolina graduate and all-time rushing leader De’Angelo Henderson of Summerville is working with sports writer Alan Blondin to provide The Sun News with a diary entry fortnightly through the NFL Draft from April 27-29. He is training for three months at the Michael Johnson Performance sports complex in McKinney, Texas, participated in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl all-star game on Jan. 21 at StubHub Center at California State University, has been invited to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine from Feb. 28-March 6 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, and has CCU’s Pro Day on March 31.
Feb. 11 Diary Entry:
The Super Bowl was in Houston, about four hours away, and a couple guys from the Michael Johnson center went there, but I didn’t make the trip. A few of us got together and watched it in the hotel.
Coastal teammate Bruce Mapp is up here now at the same facility training, though we’re in two different groups. He got here a couple weeks ago. It’s another familiar face up here, so we try to hang out whenever we have a chance, go to dinner and talk a little bit. The guys that are in my group are all real tight.
I got a chance to catch up to one of my frat brothers, Jamal Kinlaw, from Myrtle Beach. He was here on business. We went out to dinner at a sports bar in Dallas and talked for a little bit. I had a good time and I was definitely happy to see a familiar face. I can’t wait to get back to the beach and see him some more. He’s excited about the whole process I’m going through. He brought a shirt from one of my frat brothers that passed away almost a year ago, Anthony Frye, who actually played football at Coastal too. He recently got one of his shirts and brought it to Texas and gave it to me. That was really big. I’m proud and excited to have it. Frye was my guy.
Last week I was thinking about him a lot and ended up staying up late and listened to old voicemails he sent me. I just wanted to hear his voice. I guess I was just really thinking about him, looking at old pictures and stuff like that. Then I got the shirt Tuesday.
My girlfriend, Natalie McKnight, she’s coming up here this weekend. It’s Valentine’s Day weekend for us. I’m definitely excited about that. She came up when I came here in December but she only stayed for two days and I haven’t seen her since. She understands what I’m fighting for and I think she’s done a good job of handling everything. She’s strong. She’s smart. She graduated from Coastal in 2013 and she’s in Charleston working as a project coordinator at College of Charleston. She’s on top of her game and makes sure I’m on top of mine.
I haven’t seen my mom since I’ve been here and she has an Android so I haven’t been able to FaceTime her, but my grandma, she has an iPhone so I’m able to FaceTime her quite often. I speak to my mom and grandma probably two or three times a week. I stay in contact with everybody back home for the most part.
I’m not homesick but I do want to see my folks. I’ve been in college five years so I’m okay with being away. But it’s different when I’m in Myrtle Beach and I’m two hours away from Charleston as opposed to being 1,200 miles away in Texas. I definitely can’t wait to see everybody when I get back after the Combine. I should be back around the second weekend of March.
We have about three weeks left before the Combine. I leave Feb. 28 and the Combine doesn’t start until March 3, so I’ll be there a few days before we actually get tested and go through the drills. We’re on that home stretch right now.
I’m just continuing with my training every day. Tuesdays and Thursdays are pretty chill days. We do position workouts in the mornings and yoga in the afternoons on Thursdays. We used to do yoga at Coastal during the summer, so I’ve got a little background with it. It’s a big help in doing everything we have to do like mobility, being able to run, staying healthy, all that good stuff.
We don’t have mental coaches or anything like that, but they do a good job I think of just encouraging us every day, staying focused and taking advantage of the opportunities we have.
My agent has been really good about getting me some trading card deals. I’m working on my second trading card deal right now. We just finalized it so now I’m signing some labels, and there are a lot of labels to sign. You have to sign them individually. The first one was 1,200 labels, and the one I’m working on right now is 3,500. It’s not exciting, but it’s exciting. My hand cramps up a lot, but it’s fun to actually have a trading card deal. The picture will come after draft day when we take rookie pictures and all that stuff. The first deal was with Leaf, this one is with Panini. Once I get done signing labels I’ll mail them back, they process everything and I’ll get paid after that.