Henderson's mystery tour

Raymond Henderson

Oak Creek star has kept everyone guessing with his college decision. Everyone, that is, except the schools under consideration.

Publicly, Raymond Henderson has narrowed his college decision to the following contenders: Nebraska, Iowa and Tennessee.

Privately, the 6-foot-5, 255-pound defensive end made that final decision before Christmas and let those schools, and the other schools that had been in contention, know about it.

"He has already told the university that he's going to that he is committed to them," Oak Creek coach Joe Koch said. "He called all the other schools—and I was here in the room—and he called all the other schools and told them where he had committed. He let them know that he wasn't playing a game with them, so that they can move on and recruit whoever they are going to recruit. You don't want to leave people hanging. I advised him on that."

Henderson, though, has let his public indecision proceed, thus drawing more attention to his final announcement, which take place Saturday during the U.S. Army All-American game in San Antonio, Texas.

"He's already made up his mind," Koch said. "He made it up before Christmas. He notified that school and all the other schools. All he did is he asked those schools not to say anything because that was part of his condition: ‘I'll let you know everything, I'm going to say what I'm going to do right now but just keep it kind of quiet because I really want to do this Army Bowl thing.'"

Koch, of course, knows who Henderson's school of choice will be come Saturday.

"I don't want to say I'm sworn to secrecy but I guess I kind of am," Koch said.

Henderson has said in recent weeks that he wants to "shock" with his announcement. Essentially, he has done a masterful job of adding to his personal intrigue. He is one of about 20 players who are expected to publicly make their commitment announcements for the first time Saturday.

"It's one of those things where obviously, you know, [Henderson is] enjoying the moment, the attention, or whatever," Koch said. "He's really a nice kid. He's having fun with it for whatever reason."

Henderson's insistence on shocking his audience has led to some speculation that the University of Wisconsin made a late push to re-enter Henderson's recruitment. The Badgers secured a verbal commitment from Henderson's prep teammate and fellow West All-Star, Travis Beckum, in early December.

"No, that's not true," Koch said. "Wisconsin for whatever reason has never been interested in Raymond."

"I'm not going to fault them," Koch said. "It's like a puzzle. He is like a piece and he just doesn't fit their system or whatever they are doing. All I know is they are pretty successful and they win a lot of games so they are obviously doing something right. He obviously just wasn't part of that piece that they're seeing.

"Travis does fit. That's the way it goes."

So what type of player will Iowa or Nebraska or Tennessee be receiving in Henderson?

"Super overachiever. He's not as blessed as Travis with natural, that gifted fluidity and hips. But he's a bigger boned guy," Koch said. "He's going to eventually grow into a D tackle. He's going to start off at D end, no doubt about it, but he'll end up at D tackle. He's got a motor. He goes hard all the time. He's a pleaser. He wants to please the coaches. He's the kind of guy who responds real well to positive praise. Put a carrot out there he'll chase that carrot…

"As a player, he's going to get the most out of himself. He'll have to redshirt. He's going to have to get his body strength up. He was two years at Milwaukee Vincent before us so he didn't have weightlifting his first couple years. There was no weight room. So he's only had two years of weightlifting. But he's got the raw bone toughness. He really lays a wallop. He really brings it.

"He's a really nice kid…He'll definitely be the guy you want taking a prized recruit around on a visit. He's a great salesman. Always smiling. Very positive. Total team guy. He kind of dives for the coaching staff. He's very loyal."

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