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December 9, 2013

Horns land commitment from DT Zaycoven Henderson

These are somewhat uncertain times around the Texas Longhorn football program, with rumor and speculation constantly swirling on the direction of the program, and Mack Brown's future in particular.

Despite the uncertainty, one thing remains constant - the Texas Longhorns are a hot recruiting draw, and that fact was again reinforced on Monday afternoon with a commitment from top defensive tackle Zaycoven Henderson.

Henderson, out of Longview, chose Texas over Texas Tech and Baylor, giving the Longhorns 23 commitments for the 2014 recruiting class.

"I'm playing for the University of Texas, not for any coaches," Henderson said after announcing his decision.

One of the top defensive linemen in the state of Texas, Henderson is an athletic big man who is seen as having tremendous potential.

"Henderson is a big get because working down there in the trenches at D-tackle, Texas is always looking for a big guy like him," said Rivals.com regional recruiting analyst Jason Howell. "He's athletic enough he does a good job of playing down the line. He's a big-time defensive tackle, a guy that could come in right away and be in the rotation."

Henderson plans to major in business at Texas. He said the Longhorns' history of producing defensive tackle talent and UT's strong academic reputation are two reasons he chose Texas.

"Texas is D-Lineman University if you ask me. They send them out (to the pros) every year," Henderson said. "One thing that stood out for me (at Texas) is the great education. It's a great school. In my family, that's all we talk about is education."

A four-star prospect, Henderson held offers from schools like Oklahoma, TCU, Oklahoma State, Nebraska and Ole Miss to go along with his three favorites. A one-time TCU pledge, Henderson opened up his recruitment earlier in the fall, partly due to the increased interest shown by Texas.

He took an official visit to Texas on September 20 and followed that trip up with October and November visits to Ole Miss, Oklahoma and Texas Tech. Henderson has played it close to the vest in regards to favorites, but Texas has been the leader ever since his visit to Austin. In fact, there was some thought that Henderson might commit during that trip but he decided to hold off and take other visits.

By committing to Texas, Henderson joins Longview teammate, wide receiver Dorian Leonard, on the UT commitment list. Leonard committed to Texas in June and he's a big part of the reason things worked out with Henderson.

In early September, while Henderson was committed to TCU, Leonard and Henderson began talking about how they would like to play together in college. Henderson told Leonard he was thinking of decommitting from TCU, Leonard helped relay that word to the people in the Texas football offices and the Longhorns immediately picked up their interest.

Two months later, Texas' recruiting efforts have paid off and Henderson is now all set to be a Longhorn.

A December graduate, Henderson will enroll at Texas in January. A 6-2, 300-pounder, he joins Courtney Garnett and Trey Lealaimatafao as Texas defensive tackle pledges. But Henderson's pledge may be the biggest of the three in terms of talent and stability. Garnett needs to finish strong academically and Lealaimatafao has recently taken official visits to UCLA and Arizona State, though he says he remains committed to Texas.

Henderson ranks No. 32 on the Lone Star Recruiting Top 100.


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