A graduate of Little Rock Central and UALR, Robert Yates has been a sports reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette since 1985.His most memorable moments of reporting include Pine Bluff phenom Basil Shabazz scoring five touchdowns in the 1990 state championship game and the outpouring of community support after Kenyana Tolbert, a standout football player at North Little Rock, was paralyzed in a 1997 game.
Henry ‘just happy’ to be a Razorback
Pulaski Academy's tight end Hunter Henry, center, applauded as his coach Kevin Kelley, upper right speaks during a signing ceremony at the school Wednesday afternoon in Little Rock. From left is Henry family friend and former coach Walter Jordan, father Mark Henry his mother Jenny Henry.
LITTLE ROCK When Mark Henry signed with Arkansas in 1987, he said maybe 10 people attended his ceremony in Little Rock Central’s library.
His son had a much bigger audience Wednesday afternoon.
Two-time All-Arkansas tight end Hunter Henry of Pulaski Academy signed with the Razorbacks in front of several hundred during a brief ceremony in the school’s Connor Performing Arts Center.
“Times have changed,” said Mark Henry, a standout offensive lineman at Central and Arkansas. “We sat down at a table, and there wasn’t much fanfare. You kind of signed your letter. There was, I think, one TV station there that I spoke to, so times have a changed a lot.”
Hunter Henry, dressed in a dark suit and red tie, was flanked on the signing stage by Mark Henry, mother Jenny and Walter Jordan, a family friend and the player’s youth basketball coach when he lived suburban Atlanta.
Hunter Henry signed his scholarship papers at 12:43 p.m. and was almost immediately swarmed by television, electronic and print media.
“Definitely glad it’s over with,” Henry said.
The signing officially sealed a long courtship with Arkansas, although there was a brief flirtation last fall with another SEC West program.
Henry orally committed to the Razorbacks on July 19 but made an official
Continued from Page 1W visit to Alabama in early November. He reaffirmed his commitment to Arkansas last month after his official visit and a reassuring meeting with new Razorbacks Coach Bret Bielema.
Bielema was the third Arkansas head coach to recruit Henry, following Bobby Petrino and John L. Smith.
“At one time, I did waver,” Henry said. “It was difficult for me, but in the end I’m just happy that I picked Arkansas and just proud of the program and the direction we’re going in.”
Henry finished his career with 216 receptions for 3,290 yards and 41 touchdowns, one of the most decorated tight ends in Arkansas high school history,
Bruins Coach Kevin Kelley said he believes Henry can contribute this fall.
“I don’t know what they’re planning on doing on offense, but he’s a kid that’s so good in space,” Kelley said. “Basketball has taught him well. He’s an NFL player. I don’t have any question about it. I just hope they use him in that capacity.”
Mark Henry was a two-time All-Southwest Conference selection at Arkansas but passed on the chance to play in the NFL to enter the ministry.
Henry was pastor at Saline Community Church in Benton before moving his family, including Hunter, then about 5, to the Atlanta area to lead the congregation at North Metro Church in Marietta.
Hunter Henry enrolled at Pulaski Academy as a ninth grader after his father became a teaching pastor at Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock.
Hunter Henry started four games at left offensive tackle as a freshman before becoming a fixture at tight end the past three seasons.
Kelley said Henry, who was offered a scholarship by Arkansas as a sophomore, is “quite possibly” the face of football at Pulaski Academy, an independent west Little Rock private school founded in 1971.
“He’s done so well,” Kelley said. “He speaks articulately and he’s humble. He’s been a good face for our program and for the school, really.”
Sports, Pages 19 on 02/07/2013