Top recruit backs off Bulldogs

Jacksonville prep star Derrick Henry now wants to look at other schools

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville area's career rushing leader is back on the board.

Derrick Henry, of Jacksonville, recently visited Alabama.  Morris News Service
Morris News Service
Derrick Henry, of Jacksonville, recently visited Alabama.

Yulee running back Derrick Henry announced on Wednesday afternoon that he is reopening his college football recruitment, backing away from his verbal commitment to the University of Georgia and becoming the most high-profile college free agent in the area.

Henry, a consensus four-star prospect who will open his senior season with 7,820 rushing yards, announced in a letter on Wednesday afternoon that he was starting anew with the recruiting process. In the letter, Henry said that he was "probably a little too quick" in committing to Georgia on July 15, 2011, and apologized to the school, adding that the Bulldogs weren’t totally out of the picture. He had recently taken unofficial visits to both Tennessee and Alabama, with his trip to Tuscaloosa last weekend igniting rumors that Henry was wavering.

"For me personally, this is one of the biggest decisions I’ll make in my life and probably the most important to this point," Henry wrote. "I want to be 100 percent sure I am making the best choice on where I go to college and to play football. I’m going to open up my recruitment and take some more visits, get as much information as I can, and then decide from there."

Yulee coach Bobby Ramsay said that Henry did the right thing by letting Georgia know about his change of heart as quickly as possible and that there was nothing wrong with wanting some more time to evaluate different schools.

"We told him that you need to take advantage of this time and if you feel like there’s other schools you want to look at, you owe it to yourself to look at them," Ramsay said. "I think he’s handling it pretty well. He just kind of wants to work on with what we’re working towards and enjoy his senior season. The recruiting thing will take care of itself. He’s going to look around and decide what the best thing to do it. I don’t want to trivialize it, but he’s really just a kid trying to pick a college."

The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Henry is one of the most decorated prospects to have played in the area. He has been invited to the 2013 U.S. Army All-American game, and will lead Yulee into a nationally televised game against visiting Belle Glade Glades Day on Sept. 28. The three-time All-First Coast selection is ranked among top 50 prospects by every major scouting publication in the country.

Henry did not say when he’d make his choice, only that he was "focusing on helping my team have the best season we can have."

Henry’s decommitment means that Georgia’s 2013 recruiting class is now at 19, although none of those are running backs. The Bulldogs do have a pair of players from the First Coast already committed — athlete J.J. Green and quarterback Brice Ramsey, both from Camden County.

Henry broke former Fletcher running back Ciatrick Fason’s area rushing record (7,479 yards) during a 42-41 playoff win over Taylor County on Nov. 18, 2011. The Hornets are coming off of their best season in program history, an 8-4 finish that ended with a 27-16 loss to East Gadsden in the Class 4A regional finals.


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