Malik Henry is one of the most highly regarded quarterback recruits in the class of 2016. Out of Thousand Oaks (Calif.) Westlake, the 6'2.5, 180-pounder is a five-star according to many, and top priority for numerous schools across the country, including Florida State. Tomahawk Nation spoke with Henry Thursday night at the Jimbo Fisher Camp.
Many players make a broad trip across a region to hit many schools, but Malik Henry came just to see Florida State.
"I just love their offense," Henry said, explaining why he came to see FSU. "We run the same formations at Westlake, and I fit into this offense pretty well."
"Florida State is a special place, and I haven't been hearing from Florida coaches too much," Henry continued, explaining why he did not go and visit the Gators.
Henry came away very impressed with the visit.
"I loved my visit. I loved the experience," Henry said of his trip to the Southeast.
Still, Florida State is a long way from California. But Henry says that is not an issue.
"Location isn't an issue for me at all," Henry said, noting that he has family in Tampa and Ohio. "I want to get away for college. If I happen to choose a local school, it happens, but location is not an issue and I'm open to playing anywhere."
Henry is a dual-sport star for Westlake, so the appeal of Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, who also plays two sports for Florida State, is obvious. And it seems that Florida State is recruiting Henry in a similar way as it did Winston.
"Just seeing what [Winston] can do in the offense," Henry said of the star QB. "And I like to compare myself to him a little bit, being a two-sport athlete and even playing the same positions (pitcher). I see myself playing both positions in college."
Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher and baseball hitting coach Mike Martin Jr. are best friends, and the synergy of the two, and the proven plan of having a two-sport star appeals to Henry.
"I just had my meeting with coach Fisher and he told me that he loves two-sport athletes. And he explained how he and [Mike Martin Jr.] are best friends. He has no problem with me playing baseball as long as I establish my position on the football team."
Henry's area recruiter is Tim Brewster, the coach FSU sends after national prospects.
"He’s a great guy," Henry said of Brewster. "He’s always been straight up with me since the beginning. He came out to one of our practices and loved the way I threw and they offered me soon after that."
Henry's first offers were BYU and Colorado, but he is now up to 16. He's already visited Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, UCLA, USC and Arizona State. And he'll likely visit Texas and Texas A&M in a few weeks.
In-state, UCLA has the most appeal to Henry, though he no longer maintains that they are his leader. He is being recruited by coach Mazzonne. And he is not intimidated by UCLA commitment Josh Rosen, a player many consider to be the best in the country for the 2015 class at his position.
"I think Josh is a great quarterback, but I'm never going to shy away from competition," Henry said. "If you don't compete I don't think you should play football. Josh is a great quarterback for UCLA. But coach Mazzone is recruiting me really hard right now and we have a great relationship."
Henry plans to make an early decision to work on recruiting for his future school, and to focus on baseball. But he claims no leaders.
"No favorites at all. All even," Henry said. "Definitely Florida State, Notre Dame, UCLA, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, Michigan, Michigan State," he added when asked to name some of high interest.
Henry is looking for a school with a good atmosphere, where he'll click with the coaches, players and a good business school. He said it's not important that the school has a good baseball program, but just that the school allows him to play the sport, as football is now his priority.