Written by Spencer Reed:
GAINESVILLE, Fla.– Let’s take a trip back to national signing day. You and I are in Miami, sitting in the Christopher Columbus High School gym, watching 4-star athlete C.J. Henderson sign with the Gators.
I lean over and tell you that Henderson will be leading the Gators in touchdowns going into the third game of the season. What would you call me? Crazy? Stupid? Drunk?
All three, most likely.
I know I would’ve laughed if someone told me that.
Fortunately– or unfortunately if you were hoping for a revamped Gators’ offense– it is true.
True freshman cornerback C.J. Henderson has recorded a pick-six in his each of his first two games as a Gator. A feat that no Gator has ever accomplished, according to program records dating back to 1973.
To go along with those two touchdowns, which accounts for 40 percent of the team’s total touchdowns, Henderson has recorded five tackles and earned himself SEC Freshman of the Week honors for week 3.
Henderson’s two pick-sixes already have him in elite company of Gator greats. He is currently tied for third in program history for interception returns for touchdowns and just two shy of tying Brandon Spikes’ record of four.
Extremely impressive when you think about the vast number of great defensive backs that have played for the Gators.
When asked about his success and the success of the Gators’ secondary, the extremely humble freshman had nothing but high praise for his coaches.
“I really think it’s Coach Shannon, he just simplifies it for us and makes it easy for all the players,” Henderson said. “We just go out there and play fast.”
And fast is a perfect way to describe his game.
The 6’1” 185-pound Miami native, ran a 10.4 100-meter dash and a 4.35 40, the fastest time out of all the athletes in the 2017 recruiting class.
He’ll need all that speed next week when the Gators head up to Lexington to take on Kentucky.
The Wildcats bolster a solid receiving core, led by the speedy Garrett Johnson.
Johnson had 39 receptions for 585 yards and 5 touchdowns in 2016, and has 8 receptions for 185 yards this season.
Henderson and the young defensive core will look to lead the Gators to their 31st consecutive win over the Wildcats.
The last time Kentucky beat Florida in football was in 1987. Ronald Reagan was president, Michael Jackson’s “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” was number-one on the Billboard Hot 100, and I wasn’t even a figment of my parent’s imagination.
However, a win over Kentucky won’t be as much of a walk in the park as it’s been in the past. The Wildcats are 3-0 on the season and are only 2.5-point underdogs.
With the Gators’ struggling offense and Kentucky’s stellar run defense, it will definitely be an interesting game to watch.
Be sure to tune into the SEC Network to watch on Saturday night at 7:30 to watch the Henderson and the Gators take on the Wildcats.