K.J. Henry hasn’t wasted any time trying to help his new school add even more stars to its 2018 recruiting class. After signing with Clemson last month, the five-star defensive end has already begun recruiting a couple players the Tigers are hoping to bring in on National Signing Day in February.
Five-star wide receiver Justyn Ross is one of those being worked on by Henry. The two had a chance to chop it up this week in Orlando, Fla., during preparation for the Under Armour All-America Game.
Ironically, both Ross and Henry wore the No. 5 for Team Spotlight in the game.
“I’ve got to go through my call log, but I know I’m recruiting the other No. 5, Justyn Ross,” Henry said. “I got to talk to him a little bit. And having been on his side — I know I didn’t want anybody nagging in my ear — but I gave him a few pointers and let him know where home is.”
Alabama, Auburn and Clemson are the primary contenders for Ross. The native of Phenix City, Ala., made his official visit to Clemson in November and plans to visit the in-state schools as well before signing in February.
“I met him on one visit, and he’s a great guy,” Henry said. “So I’m hoping he’s leaning towards us.”
Another player the Tigers are making a late push for is four-star linebacker Dax Hollifield. Clemson has managed to rekindle interest with Hollifield, and Henry claims credit for helping the Tigers get their foot back in the door so to speak.
Henry and Hollifield, who both hail from North Carolina, played together in the Shrine Bowl all-star game last month.
Henry had already decided by then that he was headed to Clemson, and during the week leading up to the Shrine Bowl, he had a chance to get a feel for Hollifield’s recruitment.
“I have to take some credit for that, to be completely honest with you,” Henry said. “At the Shrine Bowl, I let him know that those were my top guys. We got to talk a little bit. We talked, and he was able to tell me about how they used to be on him.
“Knowing that I was about to go there, I at least had to hit up some of the coaches and let him know we got to talk to this guy. I had to talk to coach V (Brent Venables), coach (Todd) Bates, some of those guys.”
Now, Hollifield is thinking about taking an official visit to Clemson this month before signing day.
Henry said he planned to reach out to Hollifield again soon.
“I’ll talk to him and see how he is because first and foremost I want him to be happy,” Henry said. “I’m his friend first. But definitely going to start chirping in his ear about the Tigers because he’s such a great player and he gives such great effort. I could learn so much from him. So definitely will be talking to him soon.”
Henry is an early enrollee, so he is set to begin classes next week. He will be roommates with fellow early enrollee and five-star signee Trevor Lawrence.
One of the benefits of being a midyear enrollee is being able to participate in spring practice, and Henry believes that help his transition to the next level.
“I think it will be big,” he said. “Just talking with my dad and knowing how football plays out and everything, I’ve got to get the playbook down, speed of the game and learn my position before I can even think about touching the field. So those extra couple months and not necessarily being thrown in the fire is big for my success.”