Days after breaking an NCAA Division I record and becoming Coastal Carolina's all-time leading scorer, it still hasn't hit De'Angelo Henderson.
The senior halfback isn't sure when it will, either. But what Henderson does know is that he wasn't out there doing it alone.
“It still hasn't sunk in yet. Like I said [before], it’s a real blessing to achieve something like this. And it’s bigger than me; I couldn’t do anything I’ve done without my teammates,” said Henderson, who also became the Chanticleers’ career rushing touchdown leader with 47. “[I couldn’t do it] without the O-line blocking, the receivers blocking and the quarterback shaking plays and getting me into the right position. It’s not just me. I get the rewards, but everybody else does the dirty work.”
After breaking three records en route to defeating Florida A&M 49-10 on Saturday, Henderson – a Summerville native – stood in the parking lot of Brooks Stadium with his family.
There was nothing but happy and positive vibes. And thoughts about the future.
“We were all laughing about [the fact] I don’t really understand what I just did,” said Henderson, also the Big South leader in receptions (77) and receiving yards (732) by a running back. “We were just laughing about it and saying how much greater things are to come and just thankful for what I did.”
If all works out for Henderson, he’ll be taking handoffs in the NFL like former Chants running back Lorenzo Taliaferro – now with the Baltimore Ravens. Henderson sat behind Taliaferro for a season (2013) before taking the lead role as a sophomore, and has found the end zone in every single game he has started in.
Henderson doesn’t have a crystal ball, but he sort of envisioned this day might come.
“When I first signed, I went home and looked up every single Coastal Carolina rushing record and said I wanted to get every one of them,” he said. “I didn't really pay too much attention to it [over the years], but it was definitely something that was in the back of my head.
“I’ve been blessed to be in the same system for five years,” Henderson added. “That's one way I’ve been able to grow.”
And going forward, Henderson leaves no questions as to what the objective is.
“The numbers are nice and everything, but our goal this year is to be the best team that ever came here,” Henderson said. “We’ve got a lot to prove. We’re nowhere close to where we want to be, but we’re definitely striving towards it.”
Paul steps up in Johnson's absence, proves CCU has depth at linebacker
When junior starting linebacker Shane Johnson left Coastal Carolina’s season-opening win over Lamar two weeks ago with an ankle injury, true freshman Laqavious Paul had a shot to prove his worth.
While Paul did play a part in allowing two big touchdowns runs to Lamar halfback Kade Harrington in Week 1, he and the Chants coaching staff corrected his mistakes, allowing the linebacker to shine against Florida A&M in his first career start.
“I didn’t like that performance [against Lamar]. I watched a lot of film from the game and had it fresh in my mind,” Paul said. “After that game, I knew I couldn’t make the same mistakes. So I said, “You know what, you’ve got to grow up and step up’ and I did what I had to do. ... It definitely gives me some confidence.”
With Johnson still nursing an ankle injury, Paul may have a chance to step up again Saturday as Coastal Carolina travels to Alabama to take on Jacksonville State – one of the toughest FCS programs in the country.
As for Johnson, he nor the team is sure whether he’ll be ready to go against Jacksonville State. But the junior did take part in some drills during Tuesday’s team practice.
“I’m feeling better, getting better,” Johnson said. “Definitely progressing. I took minimal reps [Tuesday], but we’ll see how the week goes.”
Regardless, Chants coach Joe Moglia has certainly noticed Paul’s level of play so far and is impressed with the young linebacker.
“I’m delighted with the way [Paul] is playing, and think that’s terrific,” Moglia said. “He’s doing good. He’s still making some freshman mistakes, but he’s going to be a very, very good linebacker for us and we’re pleased the we got him now. He’s doing a good job.”
Stilley coming along at quarterback
Since a lousy beginning to his first career start, Chants sophomore quarterback Josh Stilley has proven he can succeed at the most important position on the football field.
“One of the things that Josh brings to the table that I’m impressed with is that he doesn’t have highs and lows,” Moglia said. “He has a very even temperament, which I think is a very good thing for a quarterback.”
And by far the most important thing is that the quarterback has won both games he started. After the home-opening win over Florida A&M, Stilley is a combined 26-for-44 passing with 295 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Moglia said one of the keys in Stilley’s success is that he’s surrounded by talent. But he doesn’t deny the quarterback has a natural ability to throw the ball.
“The stuff we’re asking him to execute, he’s doing,” Moglia said. “I think he’s becoming more confident at the position, and the other thing is – he looks around and he’s got some real guys around him that have some real experience. He’s got a solid, experience offensive line. He’s got experienced receivers and he’s got experienced backs. I think we’re all really pleased with where Josh is.”