How close did Coastal Carolina come to losing star running back De’Angelo Henderson after last season?
Remaining in school for a degree isn’t necessarily a motivation for Henderson. He already has one. The senior has a degree in recreation and sport management and is pursuing a second degree in communication.
He also had an interest in leaving the school after his junior year to play professionally, especially since the Chanticleers can’t play for a conference or national championship because they’re in a transition season from the Football Championship Subdivision to the Football Bowl Subdivision.
He put out feelers before the NFL Draft in April.
“I put my name out there but I didn’t submit anything,” Henderson said. “The plans were never to come out, just to kind of see where they had me or if they even had me in general. When I did that they had me as later than second round to undrafted. I just really wanted to see where I would stand.
“From the feedback I got from sources was my best bet was to come back.”
Had the Summerville High grad received more favorable feedback regarding a possible NFL career?
“I can’t say what I would have done because it didn’t happen,” Henderson said. “The only thing that happened was they said not to come out and I didn’t. I’m here.”
The 5-foot-8, 210-pound dynamo has a chance for a special season that could give him an NCAA Division I record and all of CCU’s significant running back records.
Henderson enters his senior season with an active streak of scoring at least one touchdown in 26 consecutive games, which is an NCAA FCS record. He is one shy of the all-time NCAA Division I record (27 held by Virginia Tech’s Lee Suggs).
I can’t say what I would have done because it didn’t happen. The only thing that happened was they said not to come out and I didn’t. I’m here.
Coastal Carolina running back De’Angelo Henderson on his decision to remain in school for his senior season
He enters the season as CCU’s all-time leader in rushing yards (3,479), rushing attempts (538), average yards per rush (6.47), all-purpose yards (4,210), and all-purpose yards per game (102.7), and ranks second in rushing TDs (42) and touchdowns scored (46), third in points scored (278), fifth in ttal offense (3,479), ninth in receptions (77) and 13th in receiving yards (731).
After finishing 10th in the voting last season, he is listed a candidate for the STATS FCS National Offensive Player of the Year award.
He’ll give the NFL and professional football another look after the season.
“I’ll definitely to try to see if I can make it to the next level, if I’m lucky and fortunate enough to get there,” he said.
Henderson already spent time at the NFL level this year in a different capacity, and that is part of his backup plan. He was an intern over the summer with the Indianapolis Colts in marketing, ticketing and media relations. He said team officials told him to contact them if his playing career doesn’t work out. “Maybe I’ll start getting into the industry,” Henderson said.
Henderson was led to Indianapolis by Maurice Drayton, a Colts special teams assistant and former CCU wide receivers coach who recruited Henderson as the school’s recruiting coordinator for Henderson’s region.
Perhaps the biggest question facing Coastal Carolina prior to the start of the 2016 season is who will start at quarterback?
That question remains unanswered two weeks before CCU’s opener at Lamar on Sept. 3.
No quarterback on the CCU roster has much experience with the graduation of three-year starter and FCS All-American Alex Ross. Sophomore Josh Stilley is the only signal-caller on the roster who saw playing time last year, and he threw all of two passes.
Stilley, of Cornelius, N.C., and redshirt freshman Chance Thrasher of Suwanee, Ga., are the favorites to lead the Chanticleer offense. The quarterbacks have similar builds, as both are between 6-1 and 6-2 and between 195 and 205 pounds.
“I think it’s really still very much up in the air,” head coach Joe Moglia said. “We’re not even through camp; we’re still more than two weeks away from opening day. So I think we’ve got a lot of guys that are doing a good job being competitive. The two leading candidates are Josh Stilley and Chance Thrasher. But we don’t know. We’re kind of looking at that every day.
“They’re good kids. They’re good athletes. I think they all have good heads on their shoulders. They just haven’t had any experience.”
Moglia said Stilley missed some practice snaps with a mild hamstring pull last week but is full strength again.
“Whoever starts we’ll back them up,” Henderson said.
Class in session
For the past two weeks, CCU’s coaches and some athletes have had the campus to themselves.
That is changing this weekend.
The university’s general student population moves in this weekend and classes will begin Monday. So beginning next week, Coastal football will adhere to its in-season schedule, having Monday’s off and practicing in the afternoons. The team has largely had daily two-hour morning practices.
“This is the only time literally all year we’re able to go for a handful of days in a row where the kids’ only real responsibility is to focus on football,” Moglia said. “So they get a little extra film work in, and we get a little extra meeting time. The rest of the year we expect them to live up to the responsibilities academically in the classroom, the behavior on and off campus. This is kind of a nice period because this is the only thing they have to worry about right now.”