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Lovejoy DT Chris Henderson gets unexpected all-star game invitation

After a strong showing at camp this summer, Lovejoy defensive end Chris Henderson got an invitation to the prestigious Rising Seniors All-Star Game this December. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

After a strong showing at camp this summer, Lovejoy defensive end Chris Henderson got an invitation to the prestigious Rising Seniors All-Star Game this December. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

HAMPTON — The prestigious Rising Seniors All-Star Game has come calling again to the Clayton County area. However, this selection is for a player not as highly noted as others.

Lovejoy defensive lineman Chris Henderson has accepted the invitation to play in the game in December at Grady Stadium. In a backup role last season, Henderson was not a major impact player for the Wildcats defense, but he wowed the coaches at the Rising Seniors camp this summer enough to warrant an invite.

“It was a great honor to be selected in the game; I play against some of the best in the state in practice every day so that propelled me to perform well and get picked” he said.

Henderson is the fifth player from the county to get an invite to the game. Earlier this summer Jonesboro rising juniors Zerrick Cooper (quarterback), Jeffrey Taylor (offensive lineman) and Jordan Griffin (cornerback) received invites. In addition, Chidi Okonya, a defensive end at Riverdale, has been invited to the game. All five will play on the West squad.

Though Henderson is listed as a defensive lineman, he will be counted on to play multiple positions for the Lovejoy defense; just another step into becoming a leader on the team.

“Chris is a guy that isn’t very vocal, but he makes an impact through working extremely hard,” Lovejoy coach Edgar Carson said. “We’ll be looking at him to play on the end as well as linebacker to help solidify the run defense and get after the quarterback.”

While Henderson doesn’t have a lot of in-game experience so far in his career, practicing against and learning from some of the best talent in the state over the past few years has him ready to produce. He has set a personal goal of two sacks per game and with other talented players on defense like defensive back Montrell Custis, Henderson believes this Lovejoy defense can give offenses nightmares.

Henderson and the Wildcats must be ready to rise to the occasion this year. With the classification shake-up Lovejoy will have one of Georgia’s toughest schedules. This year the team will face state powerhouses like Mays, Tucker, Hillgrove and McEachern.

“I really feel like this year’s team is coming together more so than other years,” Henderson said. “We’ve been going even harder this year and pushing each other more to get better every day. An undefeated season and state title is the goal.”

Coming into this season, Henderson has yet to be recruited by colleges. However, the Rising Seniors game is one of the state’s biggest venues to showcase talent. He’s looking forward to the opportunity to compete and garner the attention of scouts.

“That’ll be a great moment for me, just being able to prove myself against the top guys in the state,” Henderson said. “I’ll be ready and will do everything I can to leave there with an offer.”