Blue Light Special: Cater Henderson

By: William Carroll

As a walk-on at Penn State, Cater Henderson saw the “ant’s eye view” of the world of college football. A coaching change and the lure of playing time drew him to Duquesne. He’s thrived since transferring to Duquesne and hasn’t looked back. In 2015 he finished 5th in tackles in the NEC, scored two defensive touchdowns, finished with 8 TFL’s and had the FCS play of the week. They had a great linebacker in Christian Kuntz and he knew he was in his shadow, now after this past year he had a team topping 90 tackles in 2016, and I believe he’s one of the most underrated players in the NEC and perhaps even the FCS.

In his Senior stanza, he tallied 42 solo stops with 48, assists, 7.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, and 2 fumble returns. He’s a very intellectual and passionate player. His size and style of play reminds some of Chris Borland, I see a tiny bit of Bill Bates or the late, Pat Tillman. He has some impressive games on tape and he’ll need to fight his way onto a roster as a, most likely, undrafted special teams ace. But he has the qualities that coaches love of drive and the ability to learn.

WC: I have had the pleasure of watching your career from your time at Duquesne. What would you say are the 5 biggest and best lessons you’ve learned on your journey?

CH:

1. One is that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.
2.Two would be follow your gut instead of your pride.
3. Three would be learning from the veterans who have great work ethic.
4. Four is to never take for granted one play because you never know which could be your last.
5. And last is to have fun with the process and the game. If you stop having fun then you’ll stop loving the game.
WC: The next question, you played for Greg Botta at Franklin Regional High School, what was that program like and what kind of coach was he?

CH: Franklin Regional was a team with a lot of tradition. Coach Botta has made the playoffs for fifteen years straight so your always expected to be good. He was a down to earth coach who genuinely cared for each player. He will always be one of my favorite coaches I’ve played for.

WC: Who were your major rivals in High School and College?

CH: In high school, it was Plum and Thomas Jefferson. In college, it has been Dayton and Saint Francis.

WC: Your home area is loaded with talent who are some of the best players you played with or against while you were in college, high school or growing up?

CH: In high school, it was Rushel Shell from Hopewell, he was an extremely hard runner. In college it was Lorenzo Jerome, the kid can change momentum in a game so quick.

WC: What was your recruitment process like, who was interested and how did you choose your school?

CH: After breaking my schools’ tackle record and being named first team all-state my recruitment process picked up after my senior year. I had many FCS offers and interest from schools like Penn state and Pitt. I ultimately chose Penn State as they made me feel wanted more. After a coaching change my freshman year I found Duquesne. I haven’t looked back since this was the best place for me and I wouldn’t change it.
WC: What was the best game and the biggest play you made as a high school player?

CH: My best game was my senior year versus Hollidaysburg, I had 22 tackles in that game.
WC: What was your big “Welcome to College Football” Moment?

CH: The first fall camp practice, I was running OLB with a veteran group and I had made a mistake on the first play. If you don’t know what you’re doing they just pull you out, they don’t take the time to show you. It’s next man up.

WC: What is your current height/weight and what are your testing numbers?

CH: I’m currently 5’11 1/8″ 222 pounds. I haven’t tested any of my numbers in awhile. [Update-Bench: 315 Squat: 500 Vert: 32″ My last 40 was 4.71]

WC: How have the systems and staffs at your school impacted your development?

CH: Being through three different defensive coordinators you learn a lot. I’ve learned a lot about film watching and tendencies of an offensive that can give you an edge.
WC: Which coaches have had the greatest impact on you and why?
CH: My head coach in high school was the one who really believed in me and he has always still been there for me.
WC: How hard was to adjust to the verbiage, system, and playbook and when did you feel 100% comfortable?

CH: My first system at Penn state took awhile to get used to. Everything seemed very complicated but eventually, you settle in. It didn’t take long before you start to know what everyone on the field is doing.
WC: Who have been your favorite teammates, and why?

CH: Mike Hull was one of my favorites at Penn State, his work ethic and attitude towards the game really motivated me to be who I am. At Duquesne it was Christian Kuntz, he was always out working the competition and was a great leader.
WC: Who have been your favorite opponents and why?

CH: It’s either Dayton or Bryant because the games are very physical. It’s a hard fought game and those are always the most satisfying victories.
WC: If you could put together a list of your favorite players to watch or emulate, who is on that list and why?
CH: First would be Luke Kuechly, I love his motor and his ability to run sideline to sideline. Also, I’d put Chris Borland on the list, he had a very similar stature to me. His ability to get off blocks and make plays was something special.

WC: What NFL teams are your favorites and why?

CH: Pittsburgh Steelers, I was born and raised in Pittsburgh
WC:  Which NFL players do you think your game most closely resembles and why?

CH:Chris Borland, as I mentioned before we have the same stature. But he also has so much respect for the game and his motor is unmatched.
WC: When football is over what would you like to do with your education?

CH: I am planning to go into investments with my finance background and my MBA.
WC: Finally if you could go back in time to talk to 17-year-old you, what would you tell him?

CH: I would tell him to never be discouraged from anything. Always take chances and never give up.
WC: And what would you do differently if you could do it all over again?

CH: I don’t think I would have changed anything. Everything happens for a reason and it all works out for the best in the end. I’m happy where I’m at.

WC: What [if any] is/are your nickname[s] and how did you get it/them?

CH: Most of my teammates call me Hendo. It’s just short for Henderson

William Carroll
About William Carroll 17 Articles
Bill is a published poet, playwright, and military historian and has a long established broadcasting career. He is currently in his fourth decade as a published writer.

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