June 10, 2014

Henderson was sure about Pitt

Quadree Henderson had a plan.

For months, the receiver from Wilmington (Del.) Alexis I Dupont has said he would commit to a college on his birthday, Sept. 12. But sometimes plans lose their appeal. Or, in Henderson's case, one of the options he was considering became too appealing.

And so it was that Henderson ended his recruitment Tuesday night with a commitment call to Pitt head coach Paul Chryst.

"I changed the date because I've been favoring Pitt for a long time now and I thought it would be wrong to hold them off any longer," Henderson told Panther-Lair.com after he made the news public. "I was just sure about this and my parents were backing me 100%.

"I called Coach Chryst and the way I told him was, 'Coach Chryst, I was just calling to ask you if you have any more room on your team for a receiver?' He laughed and said yes, and I said I want to commit to Pitt and become part of the Pitt family. He said I made his night."

Henderson picked Pitt over offers from Boston College, Cincinnati, Clemson, Delaware, Nebraska, Ohio, Rutgers, Temple and West Virginia. He narrowed his list to Pitt and Boston College before making his selection.

"I chose Pitt because that was where I felt most comfortable," Henderson said. "They've been the most loyal to me, I have a great relationship with the coaches and it's really like family. The area is close to home but not too close to home, they have a good background academically and I really felt like I could make an impact with the team."

And if there was a final piece to the puzzle, it came over the weekend when Malvern Prep quarterback Alex Hornibrook. Henderson placed a high value on Pitt's future at quarterback - he was impressed with Chad Voytik when he watched the Panthers work out this spring - so his familiarity with Hornibrook helped him make his decision.

"Me and Alex played together at some seven-on-sevens so we kind of knew each other, and we were in touch on Facebook," Henderson said. "We were talking a few days before his commitment and he said he was going to Pitt for a visit, and when I told him I liked Pitt, he said he might commit. Then I got a message from him saying he committed.

"That made it a lot more appealing for me, just seeing him have great quarterback skills and the awareness and ability to get the ball to his receivers with precision. He's and I accurate with every pass, feel like I have a great chance with Alex getting me the ball."

Now Henderson is looking forward to being part of Chryst's program as it builds into the future.

"I see a program sky-rocketing," he said. "They are going to accomplish a lot of goals and hopefully win the ACC. When I went there for a spring practice, all the players were very intense. They want to get back to championships, and from the way they were practicing, I could tell they are getting there."

As a junior in 2013, Henderson, 5'9" 176, caught 45 passes for 1,096 yards and 14 touchdowns, and he also scored three touchdowns on returns.

"The receivers coach and Coach (Joe) Rudolph said they see me in the slot taking end-arounds and being a shifty slot receiver who can catch quick-outs and stuff like that. I think it's my ability to make defenders miss in the open field."

Henderson added that he plans to visit Pitt again at the end of June. He is the sixth recruit to commit to Pitt in the class of 2015, joining Hornibrook, Canon-McMillan offensive lineman Alex Paulina, Altoona linebacker Kevin Givens, Kittanning tight end Nick Bowers and Hallandale Beach (Fla.) Hallandale defensive back Malik Henderson.

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