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Recent offer Hudson Henry hopes to be better than NFL brother
Last Wednesday, Penn State extended scholarship offers to a pair of prized 2019 tight end targets — Hudson Henry and Austin Stogner. Both players are considered top-five prospects at the position in 247Sports’ rankings.
Henry, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound sophomore at Pulaski Academy in Little Rock, Ark., is listed No. 2 among tight ends and No. 26 overall in the class. He is the latest standout to emerge in a family of football players.
His father, Mark, suited up for Arkansas. Older brother Hayden signed with the Razorbacks this past winter, while oldest brother Hunter earned all-conference honors in Fayetteville before becoming a second-round NFL draft selection in 2016.
Hunter, now a Los Angeles Chargers tight end, caught 8 touchdown passes as a rookie last fall.
“Hunter has been through it all at every level and learned from some of game’s best coaches,” Hudson said. “It’s really awesome to have him one phone call away, one visit away. I get to learn things from him, and that’s a great opportunity for me to grow as a player.”
His access to one of football’s rising stars at the position provides him with an edge in early career progression. Hudson already has lofty goals for the years to come.
“I’m about the same size Hunter was at this time in high school, so we are very similar,” he said. “I just need to keep improving my game, and hopefully I can be better than him. “
Naturally, Arkansas was the first college program to offer him. Ole Miss, Penn Sate and Stanford have entered the mix since, and all three programs boast recent success at tight end.
“I do have that deep legacy with Arkansas; a lot of deep ties there,” Henry said. “But I don’t want to keep just one school on my mind and prevent myself from having other opportunities. Just because my family has history at Arkansas doesn’t mean it’s going to be the right fit for me. I’m leaving my options open, and I won’t be close-minded with this process.”
The Nittany Lions offensive attack has proven itself to be tight end friendly. Rising senior Mike Gesicki set the school’s single-season record for receptions and receiving yards last year, while backup Jonathan Holland led Penn State with 8 receptions in its April 22 spring game.
“I was so happy to get that offer,” Henry said. “I feel like tight end is becoming the next big thing in football because you can do so much at this position, whether it’s blocking inside or beating linebackers and safeties downfield as a receiver. It’s important to find a school that utilizes the tight end in a lot of ways.”
Pulaski Academy doesn’t typically implement a traditional in-line tight end so he spends a lot of time out wide in a role that resembles the role of a receiver. It’s allowed Henry to emerge as a compelling pass target but doesn’t prohibit him from polishing up on duties that create a complete package at the position.
“I’m focused on being one of the toughest guys you can line up across from — a blocker who gets the job done,” he said.
Henry recorded 28 receptions for 311 yards and 3 touchdowns in 12 games as a sophomore, according to MaxPreps. Expect his offensive prowess — and offer sheet — to expand throughout this upcoming season.
Aside from Arkansas, Henry has only visited Alabama. That trip occurred while he accompanied an older brother to Tuscaloosa.
Henry hopes to visit Ole Miss, Penn State and Stanford this summer. His initial reaction to the Nittany Lions’ offer is one of both surprise and interest.
“They’re definitely a program on the rise after that great season last year,” he said. “I wasn’t really expecting to get offered by them but it’s really cool, especially considering the success they’ve had at the tight end position.”
Now let’s shift our focus to another big-time tight end …
Penn State pledge Zack Kuntz joins other commits on The Opening roster
Pennsylvania prospect Zack Kuntz received exciting news Wednesday afternoon, receiving an invitation to The Opening finals. The event’s coaching staff has been busy determining which high school standouts will fill the remaining roster spots, and the 4-star tight end qualified.
— The Opening (@TheOpening) May 24, 2017
Kuntz, a 6-8, 221-pound prospect from Camp Hill High, competed at one of The Opening’s regional camps this spring. He attended the New Jersey showcase April 30, turning the head of Ronny Torres, who serves as director of player personnel for receivers and tight ends.
The camp circuit veteran drew a comparison to top-ranked 2017 tight end recruit Colby Parkinson, an incoming freshman at Stanford.
“It’s hard to be coordinated when you’re 6-8 at that age,” Torres said. “But what we saw from Colby Parkinson (6-7, 228 pounds), I kind of see in Zack Kuntz. The guy handles his body really well, and in that aspect he should get better and better. At 221 pounds, he has plenty of room to grow.”
Considered the No. 3 tight end in 247Sports’ 2018 composite rankings, Kuntz committed to Penn State during Thanksgiving weekend last autumn. He is among five Nittany Lions pledges listed among the top 100 overall prospects in composite rankings.
Kuntz is likely to spend time with at least three of them at The Opening, which is held June 28-July 3 in Beaverton, Ore., at Nike’s world headquarters. Virginia RB Ricky Slade and New Jersey WR Justin Shorter are already on the roster, while Georgia QB Justin Fields can earn a spot at Elite 11 finals June 2-4 in Los Angeles.
The Opening staff typically places common commitments on the same seven-on-seven teams for tournament competition. Shorter previously told Land of 10 about the possible benefits of future Penn State players taking early reps together.
“If they put us all on the same team it would be huge,” Shorter said. “We can really see how each other works on the field and it’s going to build great chemistry overall. When we get to campus next year, we’ll already know each other well because of that experience.”
Kuntz is one of two top-10 tight ends in this Nittany Lions class, joined by fellow 4-star recruit Pat Freiermuth of Massachusetts.
“Obviously it’s going to be a competition, but we’re going to embrace it,” Freiermuth told Land of 10 in April. “At the end of the day, even though we’re both very competitive guys, we’ll be able to look at each other and know that we’re good friends.”
Kuntz dealt with a broken bone in his right foot last year and missed multiple games as a junior, according to Brian Linder of PennLive.com. He totaled 107 receptions for 1,648 yards and 18 touchdowns during the first three seasons of high school, per MaxPreps.
“Zack is a smooth route runner and pass catcher,” Torres said. “He also has the ability to spread out wide sometimes, or line up in the slot.”
Kuntz is set to compete at the Pennsylvania Track and Field Championships this weekend at Shippensburg University. He will chase state titles in 110- and 300-meter hurdles along with the high jump.