TOCH E E R F O R
just one college scholarship offer – from Ball
State, out of the MAC. The lack of offers is quite
a surprise since he rushed for 1,676 yards and
29 touchdowns and led the Highlanders to the
Class 5A state semifinals in 2013.
“A lot of schools have come by and some are
shy of his size and they’re saying he’s a little
big,” interim Lake Wales coach Tavaris Johnson
said. “But it will be easy finding him a home.
We’re not worried at all about that.
“I believe he’ll get that attention that he
would get if he were 5-10, 5-11. They want to
see if he can run away from people. Looking at
his size, anyone would question that – but he’s
explosive. He’s got all the tools to go with his
size. You don’t see it every day, being his size
and being able to do what he does.”
Henderson, who grew an inch from 5-8 to
5-9 during the past year, said he’s only worrying
about what he can control.
“I know I’m going to get some [offers],” Hen-
derson said. “Auburn, Kentucky, Miami, Michi-
gan State ... those kinds of schools. They are
supposed to be coming down.”
Henderson is looking to follow in the Lake
Wales footsteps of former star running backs
Lorenzo Hampton, Jeff Chaney and Ronney
Daniels by playing major college football.
Hampton starred at the University of Florida
before going on to play with the Miami Dolphins,
while Chaney played at Florida State and Daniels
at Auburn. Henderson’s father, Jonas, who is now
a preacher in Frostproof, was heavily recruited
and signed with FSU but never made it to campus.
“I’ve heard from other coaches in the area that
Henderson said he plans to go to camps at
he was one of the best around,” Johnson said of
Jonas Henderson. “He was one of the elite run-
ning backs to ever come through Polk County.”
“I want to impress him,” Justin Henderson
said of his father. “I want to be the only one to
make it out of my family. I try to prove myself a
lot. I want to make him happy because he’d do
it for me, too.”
Henderson bench-presses 370-380 pounds
and runs the 100 meters and in the 4x100-
meter relay on the Lake Wales track team. He is
also strong academically.
Michigan State, Florida State and Kentucky,
among others, this summer.
“He carries his weight well ... some of the cuts
he makes,” Johnson said. “If I can compare him
to anyone, he gives you that Barry Sanders feel.
Not saying he’s as explosive, but he gives you
that feel when he carries the football.”
With another big season, they won’t be say-
ing “what if” anymore.
Ride, It’s Tight End’s
Time to Shine
AN THON Y PRICE’S HIGH SCHOOL
career has had a roller-coaster feel.
But after bouncing from position to
position and switching schools midstream, the Palm Beach Gardens High
tight end says he is primed to have a
breakout senior season.
“I think it is my time to shine,” Price
said. “I feel like I definitely deserve it.
I don’t think there’s anybody on the
team that wants it more than I do.”
Price spent his first two seasons
at Tampa Gaither High School trying
to make an impact. He played sev-
eral positions, including tight end,
receiver, defensive end, linebacker
and running back.
Then prior to his junior year –
Gardens went 9-5 a season ago and
seeking a fresh start – he moved to
the other side of the state and began
attending Palm Beach Gardens. He
settled in at tight end but was stuck
playing behind a three-year starter on
a very good team.
advanced to the Class 8A state semi-
finals before falling to eventual state
champion South Dade.
“It was a little rough at the begin-
ning, coming in being a junior,” Price
said of transferring. “You know you
only have two years left ... the weight
was really on my shoulders and no one
knew who I was. But it was a real good
experience. I am glad I did it.”
“Anthony transferred here and we
had a very strong senior tight end last
year, Caleb Perez, who is graduat-
ing,” Gardens coach Rob Freeman
noted. “So, Anthony is going to take
a little bit more prominent role this
year. He’s very talented. He’s 6-2 and
230 pounds, and he runs very well and
catches the ball very well. He’s going
to have a big year for us.”
Price said it feels good to be able to
focus on just one position after playing
all over the field his first few years.
His goals for his senior season include
hauling in more than 500 yards receiv-
ing and getting into the end zone for
the first time in a varsity game.
“I definitely want to be a playmak-
“He’s a physical player,” Freeman
er,” Price said. “I want defenses to see
me and be like, ‘OK, how are we going
to stop this kid?’”
Coach Freeman’s squad returns
16 starters. He says Price has not
garnered a whole lot of recruiting at-
tention to this point, but there’s a good
reason for that.
said. “He could be the prototypical
H-Back you hear about in some of the
Despite Size, ‘Hatchet’ Looks
offenses that people run. So I think it
would be the right fit for him, depending
on what school would be looking at him.
“[There’s] not a lot [of interest]
yet. I think it’s just a byproduct of not
getting a lot of opportunities to make
plays last year just because we had
seniors making them. But as often is
the case, this is his time to shine. We
expect him to have a big year.”
“Being a three-year non-starter, a lot
of colleges don’t really have a lot to fall
back on as far as coming to recruit me,”
Price said. “And it’s something I truly
understood when I knew I was trans-
ferring out that there may be a good
chance I may not start. But LaDainian
Tomlinson didn’t start for three years
and his senior year he had a breakout
year. So it just gives me hope.”
to Join Lake Wales Elite
THERE’S PLENT Y OF COACHING SCUT- tlebutt. Some say, “If only Justin Henderson was just a little bit taller.” Others proclaim, “If only he wasn’t quite
However, don’t bother telling any of that to
the 5-foot- 9, 214-pound bruiser who is gunning
to become the next big-time college running
back prospect out of Lake Wales High School.
Henderson, nicknamed “Hatchet,” was the
Player of the Year in Polk County last season as
a junior, but he headed into spring football with
BY PAT LAMMER