You Ask, Raymond Responds

Raymond Henderson

We recently gave Inside Tennessee readers a chance to ask questions of U.S. Army All-American defensive end Raymond Henderson, who signed with the Vols in February.

Henderson is already in Knoxville and is working hard to ready himself for SEC competition. Rated the nation's No. 3 defensive end prospect by Scout.com, he is a pass-rushing specialist with the frame to eventually play strong-side end or even defensive tackle. Although he is currently too light at 257 pounds.

We want to thank our readers for submitting such good questions, and a very BIG thumbs-up to Raymond for taking time out of his busy schedule in order to participate.

Q: As you head into your first year at UT, what are you going to do to maybe try to match the successes of or set yourself apart from all the great Tennessee Defensive Linemen in whose footsteps you'll be following? richard.michaels@us.army.mil

A: Well coming into my first year at Tennessee I plan on learning because that's a learning opportunity. Somebody I'd like to follow after is Reggie White type or maybe a Leonard Little. What I've got to do to get there is work hard and learn from the older guys.

Q: What is the one thing that made you think: "This is the place for me"? KillerVol

A: When I took my visit down here for a game I could see the fans 100 percent support the team, and another thing is that I just felt real comfortable down here at Tennessee. I liked having dinner at Coach Fulmer's house because you got a feel for the family atmosphere they have down here. That was important to me.

Q: What strikes you as a bigger challenge, the physical, mental, social, or academic adjustments of being a highly recruited freshman in the midst of many other highly recruited veterans in a future "National Championship Program?" rkennedy

A: It's probably the physical and mental. I'm not worried about academics or social adjustments. I'm not worried about the others coming in, I know I've got to do what I've got to do. I'm not worried about trying to be better than anybody else or anybody else being better than me. I want to be the best Raymond Henderson I can be. That's all I can do."

Q: Raymond, who do you model your game after? Matt Scroggs

A: I'd say somebody like John Henderson. I'm not a guy who talks, I don't talk a lot of smack. When I get on the field and the ball's snapped that's when I let loose. I let my play do my talking. That's what John Henderson does.

Q: Being one of the nation's top defensive ends, it goes without saying that you have had to experience many defensive schemes and played against many formidable offenses. Raymond, which defensive scheme do you feel most comfortable playing and why? Tim 'Rockytopnbama' Bryant

A: I'd probably say a 4-3 more so that a 3-4 because in a 3-4 you're got the linebackers but in a 4-3 it's your time to shine. You can get in there faster. You don't have to worry about the double-team. You can come off the edge a lot faster.

Q: How do you see your playing experience and skills being beneficial against the opponents that the Vols will be facing in the near future? Tim 'Rockytopnbama' Bryant

A: It's like I tell everybody when I talk about the SEC. I think it's the closest conference to the NFL. I plan on playing on Sundays and I feel like playing against these guys will get me better. I like to use my speed to get to the quarterback and the SEC is a speed conference.

Q: Raymond, you are listed as having 4.65 speed over 40 yards, but your body size suggests you should grow into a pretty good defensive end (and a talented one at that). Plus, I heard the commentators mention the potential move to defensive tackle, when you made a tackle at the Army All-American all-star game. So, do you consider yourself more of a run-stopper or a pass-rusher? Chase (aka UTVolunteers1618)

A: I'd say a pass rusher. I don't want to play defensive tackle but if it's something I have to do for the team I'll do it. So I see myself playing defensive end and doing whatever I've got to do to stay at that position, but if I have to do it (play tackle) for the betterment of the team then I'll do it. I've played tackle in practice and it's a lot more crowded there with a lot of double-teams. I like to come with that club down right off the edge.

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