Henry's 'pancake' flattens foes Football: Loyola's huge offensive lineman is so impressive he already has a full scholarship to Northwestern.

October 12, 1997|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Loyola offensive tackle Blake Henry likens a pancake -- the act of knocking a defensive lineman on his butt -- to a sack for a defensive player. "You get a real sense of accomplishment," Henry said.

"Blake had at least 20 roaches [pancakes] against the kid from Thomas Johnson," said Loyola line coach Rod Taylor, who has worked with Henry since eighth grade.

"He's developed outstanding foot movement and foot speed RTC from playing lacrosse and basketball until last year," Taylor said. "Brains, agility, brute strength -- you name it, Blake's got it."

A 3.5 student with a 1,030 Schlastic Assessment Test score, Henry (6-foot-6, 280 pounds) is listed in several tout sheets among the region's best, and orally committed to Northwestern in August.

His first step is the key.

"I fire out trying to get my hands in the middle of the guy's chest, and my helmet under his chin," said Henry, who turns 18 today. "Most times, I get a guy before he gets out of his stance. Then I just extend my elbows, drive 'em back."

Henry is no slouch on defense either. In the Dons' season-opener against Gonzaga, he came from the right of the Purple Eagles' quarterback, who was sweeping left, bulled past a lineman and chased down the quarterback and jumped on his back.

Henry will play center at Northwestern and "hasn't blown a long snap on punts in the two years," said coach Joe Brunes, whose Dons (3-1) rank No. 1 in the area and No. 11 in the state.

An Ellicott City resident, Henry began playing at age 7 in the Columbia Recreation program. He came up through Loyola's freshman and junior varsity programs, mostly as a center, and has been a starting right tackle as well as a defensive tackle on the varsity for the past three seasons.

"Blake's become such an imposing figure, we feel comfortable running behind him in most critical situations," Brune said. "He settles down some of the other kids and really likes having that responsiblity."

Henry, who has 19-inch biceps, is far from reaching his peak, Brune said.

Henry hit lineman camps at Duke and Virginia before his junior season, and at Wake Forest, Virginia and Northwestern this past summer. The last provided Henry with the proving grounds that moved Wildcats line coach Tom Brattan to offer a full scholarship on the spot.

That's where he toppled preseason High School All-American David Jorgenson of Connecticutt in two out of three one-on-one blocking drills. Both SuperPrep and The National Recruiting Advisor list Jorgenson, a two-way prospect who had eight sacks last year, among the nation's top 10 two-way linemen.

Jorgenson runs a 4.68 40-yard dash, squats 700 pounds, bench presses 375. Northwestern's was among Jorgenson's 30 scholarship offers.

Brattan's mouth was agape when Henry "roached" Jorgenson twice.

"The first time, he was straight up on me, but when I fired into him, I felt his neck snap back from the force. So I kept pushing, and when he tried to go around, he went over," said Henry of the chagrined Jorgenson.

Jorgenson "beat me on the second run, but I didn't like it, so I face-masked him," Henry said. "He told me never to put my hands on his mask again. So I kind of shoved him."

The players continued to eye each other and exchange words until Jorgenson got another opportunity -- with the eyes of everyone in camp upon them.

"You could challenge whoever you wanted, and he chose me," said Henry, who "pushed him back about seven yards before dropping him again.

"Coach Brattan made us shake hands," Henry said, "And I'm pretty sure that's the reason I got the scholarship. In college, I'll really miss defense, hitting people, getting sacks. But there's a special feeling you get when you knock someone over."

Pub Date: 10/12/97

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