Chip Souza is the sports editor of the four daily newspapers that comprise Northwest Arkansas Newspapers. Chip has been a sports writer for most of the past 26 years, earning numerous awards in Texas and Arkansas. Chip was named the sports editor of The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas in 2004 and the sports section earned six national Associated Press Sports Editors awards, including Top 10 Daily, Top 10 Sunday and Top 10 Special Section in its circulation category.
Henley is Shiloh's first Power 5 signee in 11 years
Shiloh Christian linebacker Kaden Henley (seated) smiles during a signing day ceremony Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021, in Springdale.
SPRINGDALE — Kaden Henley reached into a bag and pulled out a miniature football filled with signatures. The ball was dated July 18, 2003, Henley’s birth date, and the names were of family members.
At 9-plus pounds, Henley was a natural-born linebacker. It also didn’t hurt that he was the son of a football coach.
Now 18 years later, it’s Henley who is signing autographs. And none were bigger than the one he put on his national letter of intent Wednesday with the University of Arkansas.
“This is a special day for me and for my family,” said the 6-3, 220-pound senior. “I grew up a coaches’ son and saw a lot of his player sign. I remember the Class of 2011 that I still keep up with, and they’ve all been texting me, which is awesome. After watching all those players sign then, this is just a special moment for me to be able to actually go out there and do it.”
More from WholeHogSports: Full signing day coverage
Henley was a four-year starter at Shiloh Christian. He played a huge role in a program that was 41-4 and played in three straight state championship games, winning the Class 4A state title last season.
Henley will enroll at Arkansas in January and participate in spring workouts with the Razorbacks.
Shiloh Christian Coach Jeff Conaway said Henley’s work ethic and leadership skills are the legacies he will leave with the Saints’ program. Henley is the first Shiloh Christian Division I recruit since the talent-laden 2010 team that saw multiple players sign Division I scholarships.
“This is great for us as a program because I think it confirms that we have athletes that have this opportunity,” Conaway said. “That’s big for many reasons. We love that one of ours is going to get to play at Arkansas. The relationships with the staff and the relationships with the university, just provide for some interesting relationships for things moving forward as a football program. So those are all positives.
“We’re extremely proud of Kaden to receive this opportunity. He’s one of those guys that’s really worked and deserves it.”
Over his four-year career, Henley recorded 452 tackles, 59 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, 27 quarterback hurries, 7 interceptions and 2 interception returns for touchdowns. He also played on the offensive side and on special teams, where this season he returned a kickoff for a touchdown.
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