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By DANNY P. SMITH
Persistence seems to have paid off when it comes to the recruitment of former Starkville High School quarterback Brad Henderson.
Henderson, who has spent the last two seasons as the signal caller for the East Mississippi Community College Lions, was impressed with the level of interest sent his way by Northwestern State in Louisiana.
There were a couple of schools which came to the Scooba campus to take a peak at Henderson, but nothing to the extreme as Northwestern State.
After visiting the campus in Natchitoches, La., and talking with coaches, Henderson decided to go ahead and sign with Northwestern State. He has enrolled in classes and begins the spring semester next week.
"I enjoyed going down there and liked where the program was headed," Henderson said. "That's what led me to sign there."
Henderson's first impression was that Northwestern State was a place that wasn't looking for a quarterback, but he had a change of heart after watching film and studying the offense further.
Northwestern State is a member of the Southland Conference and East Mississippi Community College head football coach Buddy Stephens believes Henderson's skills will be utilized in a positive way.
"The Southland Conference has turned into a passing league," Stephens said. "They've got a lot of quarterbacks there who can throw the football around and have some multiple offensive teams. I think Brad has a chance to excel in that league. I think he will do a good job."
Henderson played for back-to-back EMCC teams to make the state playoffs and was recognized as an honorable mention selection to the NJCAA All-American team after last season's performance.
After taking over the quarterback duties from Randall Mackey, Henderson ranked second nationally in passing yards per game at 276.3 per game and was third in the NJCA ranks with an average of 308.3 yards of total offense per outing.
Henderson completed 232 of 388 of his pass attempts as a sophomore for the Lions with 2,763 yards and 26 touchdowns.
Even though he has come a long way during his football career, Henderson believes there's still more to accomplish.
"I think I can get better as far as the knowledge of the game," Henderson said. "Naturally, you get better as you grow. I have matured each year and have gotten better on the field."
Henderson completed 90-of-176 pass attempts for 1,185 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior at Starkville High School. As a junior, he completed 147-of-271 pass attempts for 1,920 yards and 15 touchdowns.
"Brad has been a great young man to have," Stephens said. "He has represented Starkville High School and the Starkville community in a very exceptional way. He's the type of young man who is great to have on your team. He's level-headed and doesn't have any foolishness and doesn't put up with any foolishness.
"(Northwestern State is) getting a great kid and they are getting a fine young man. Their family is proud of him as we are."