BELTON — Adrian Henderson excelled as a freshman at Trinity Valley Community College.
But, as a sophomore he was hampered by injuries. Because of his limited playing time this past season, Henderson worried his chance at playing for a Football Bowl Subdivision school might have passed.
He was wrong. He is moving to Memphis, Tenn.
The former Belton receiver signed his National Letter of Intent with the University of Memphis on Wednesday at a ceremony at the Belton field house.
“The atmosphere (at a JUCO) is not very glamorous and whether you make it out or not can depend on your team’s success,” Henderson said. “The scouts come out to see the best teams. We had a good season my first year and got some looks. But, in my second year we had a lot of injuires and I was part of that.
“I got hurt three times and I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to get the offers I was looking for.”
Henderson first committed to Memphis on Dec. 8, choosing the Tigers over Stephen F. Austin and Middle Tennessee.
“It is a blessing and a load off me (to finally sign),” Henderson said. “But at the same time, I know the work is just now starting.”
Henderson said he expects to contribute for the Tigers as soon as he steps on the field.
“It might be a little pressure, but it makes it more exciting that I am expected to come in and play,” Henderson said. “I will have to work wherever I go, but to know they have a spot for me was important.”
Memphis (4-8) wrapped up its first season under new head coach Justin Fuente. The Tigers are slated to join the Big East next season.
Henderson said he choose Memphis after visiting the campus and getting a look at the facilities.
He also enjoyed the family atmosphere provided by his potential teammates and coaches.
“They have a nice plan for the team and it gives me everything I have not had a chance to have,” Henderson said.
Although he spent the last two years in Athens, Henderson wanted to have his signing ceremony in Belton.
It is where he first made his mark, where he made some of his closest friends and where his family could attend.
Because soon, Henderson is moving to Memphis.
“It is just not forgetting where I came from,” Henderson said. “I am really thankful for all my coaches and everyone I played with. Even though I put in a lot of work, I would not have been able to make it without everybody here.”
Henderson finished his senior campaign at Belton with a district-leading 53 catches for 743 yards and 13 touchdowns, and was named a first-team All-District 12-5A and Killeen Daily Herald All-Area receiver.
“It shows that if you’re not the prototype player that you can take the junior college route, go be productive and good things will happen,” Belton coach Rodney Southern said. “Anytime a guy leaves our program and goes on to play college it is going to benefit us.
“When you have three Division I offers you can pick the best place. It is hard to make a bad decision when you have those opportunities.”
Contact Nick Talbot at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7569