Coastal Carolina graduate and all-time rushing leader De’Angelo Henderson of Summerville has been working with sports writers Alan Blondin and David Wetzel to provide The Sun News with a diary entry fortnightly through the NFL Draft this upcoming Thursday through Saturday. He trained for three months at the Michael Johnson Performance sports complex in McKinney, Texas, and participated in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl all-star game on Jan. 21 at StubHub Center at California State University, NFL Scouting Combine from Feb. 28-March 6 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, and CCU’s Pro Day on March 31.
April 22 Diary Entry:
I can’t wait for the draft to start just as a football fan, not even as a person going through it. I’m expecting to get my call Saturday between rounds four and seven. I’m really excited about it and hope everything works out well. I know I’ll be placed in the best position. My family is really excited, I’m excited, my friends, everybody is really excited. This whole process has been fun. For me to be working so hard for so long, since Pee Wee football, for everything to happen in a span of three days to see where I’m going to continue to play football is so crazy. It’s fun. It’s overwhelming a little bit at times, but everybody I’m around, family and friends, are doing a good job of keeping me level-headed and not too stressed out or not too worried.
We’re going to watch the draft at an uncle’s house in North Charleston on Saturday. I think we’ll have between 15 and 20 people. It’ll be family, my girlfriend, I think a few of my frat brothers may come down and a few other friends. They’re going to cook. We’re probably going to play some cards and dominoes and stay glued into the TV. I’ll keep my phone fully charged waiting for a call. I plan to watch the draft Thursday and Friday. My agent told me I didn’t have to, but I’m a football fan. I love football, so I’m going to watch the draft. I’m more than just somebody going through the process. The first year I was able to fully comprehend football and the draft was 1998, that’s when Peyton Manning got drafted by the Colts and I remember watching that.
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We are very confident I’ll be drafted. My agent, Hadley Engelhard, and I have both been in contact with numerous teams. Everybody is talking positive. Pro Day was the icing on the cake with everything. The combine was really, really good. For the most part my tape, my body of work speaks for itself and that’s what everybody has really been saying. They know who I am. Hopefully throughout all these interviews, these visits, these talks, these workouts, I made somebody really fall in love with me and feel like they can’t pass up on me too long. I’m very confident I’ll get my name called and get to see my name go across the screen Saturday.
Since I came back from my visit to New Orleans everything has been over-the-phone interviews with coaches. The cool thing about everything is I’m a football fan, so when coaches come to work me out or call and you hear their name, some of them I recognize and remember seeing them in games. It’s surreal sometimes. Between my agent and I, we’ve spoken to just about every team. There are teams that call or text more than others, but we’ve communicated with everybody at least once. I really can’t say who has been calling because they ask for confidentiality, but it’s a very tight race between the teams showing the most interest. My agent said that’s cool, but just because they show the most interest doesn’t actually mean they’re going to take you and not to get too excited about which coaches are contacting me once a week or once every two or three weeks. They call, but at the end of the day they still have to take me.
Everything has been really positive for me. My benefit for having a great experience with everything is the fact that I’m as clean as possible. I’ve had zero academic issues, I’ve never been arrested, I’ve never failed a drug test, I’ve never been suspended. I have a clean background. My upbringing was a little rough but I’ve never gotten in trouble, really. I graduated. I have a lot of volunteer hours with community service, service for kids, etc. With my resume with all that, my experience has been great. I haven’t been hounded or questioned about anything crazy or coaches giving me a bad vibe or anything. My Coastal Carolina coaches have told the scouts and coaches in the NFL that I’ve been a leader and helped bring everybody along. I was raised well and had some great people in my life to help me get where I am. So my whole experience has been positive, fun and exciting.