It isn’t often that middle school football players pass the eye test, but if there is one who does, it is Jacobie Henderson.
Henderson, an eighth grader at Banks Trail Middle School, has been selected to play as part of USA Football’s U-15 team in the International Bowl in Dallas in January. Prior to that, in late December, he will play in the Youth Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas at UNC-Charlotte.
Henderson, 13, was selected for both events earlier this year and he’s is excited about them.
“I am very honored and blessed that they picked me,” Henderson said.
The International Bowl will be aired on ESPN 3 Jan. 17 and will be played in AT&T Stadium. Henderson said he has never traveled west of Ohio, so this easily will be his furthest road trip to date.
Henderson, who will be going to Nation Ford next year, plays both wide receiver and defensive back for the Timberwolves. However, his final high school destination could end up Catawba Ridge in 2019 when the Fort Mill school district’s third high school is scheduled to open.
Fort Mill High was the district’s first. Nation Ford is in its 10th year.
Either way, Henderson will be a key player in someone’s system down the road.
“He is a great kid,” said Banks Trail director of athletics Garrett Edwards. “He is very driven and he understands what he needs to do. He is naturally gifted athletically.”
Henderson has been playing football for about eight years. His family relocated to Fort Mill from Charlotte when he was 9. He helped Banks Trail win a newly created middle school conference championship. His head coach, Matt McAteer, said that Henderson eats, drinks and breaths football.
“I like that I can be physical and I like how I can share my time with my teammates,” Henderson said.
Henderson said he prefers playing defensive back over receiver, but was selected as a receiver for the International Bowl. McAteer said that Henderson is a playmaker who can be counted on no matter where he plays.
“He is as good as I have had with the ball in his hands,” McAteer said.
“He has the potential to be as good as anyone I have had. He stands out and passes the eye test, but one thing he is, is a team player. He is around the game a lot and he is a leader.”