It was all business as usual for K.J. Henry and No. 1 Clemson Saturday night as they defeated Charlotte by a score of 52-10 at Death Valley.
With a total of 111 players getting their opportunity to step on the field and get some playing time, Henry and the Tigers love every second of it.
In a game where 27 different players recorded a tackle, Henry had a strong performance recording two tackles and .5 tackles for loss. To go along with his unrelenting pressure, Henry also had two pass break ups.
“So many guys got to play tonight,” said the redshirt freshman. “I was watching some football earlier and you don’t get to see something like that normally. It was great to see the number of people that made it out to the game and to see 111 guys play is great. At this level not everyone gets a chance to shine.”
Heading into the Charlotte game, Henry and the Tigers were favored to win by 42 points. Even with the large odds in their favor, Clemson didn’t skip a beat in practice leading up to their Charlotte matchup.
Treating every work week the same, Henry came into the game knowing there were still talented players on the other team and work had to be put in.
“From the jump this week, we knew we were playing a great team,” said Henry. “Power 5 or not, we watched the film and they were hands down the best running team in the nation and they showed it tonight. We just had to be ready. It was the biggest game of the year because it was the next game, as we like to say. I think we played well and being able to finish the game with a lot of players like that is fun.”
Henry and the Clemson defense were definitely ready for the 49ers. Giving up just three points in the first half, the Tigers preparation helped them completely lock down the passing game and slow down the strong Charlotte ground game. With how important game preparation is, the team goes into every single week with the same mindset.
“It’s the standard, it’s the culture that you come into,” Henry said. “You get adapted into fast as a young guy, but once you’re in it, you’re in it. Each week the fans can always be different. Some people come here and it’s there first and only time they’ve ever seen us play, so we want to put on a show each week and play our best ball. Play to our standard no matter who we’re playing.”
Preparation has always been a strong suit for Clemson and Henry’s play has sure showed it.
Already a dominant edge rusher, Henry has added a new facet to his game. Leading the Tigers on the night with two pass breakups. Henry now has the most on the team, more than any other corner back or safety.
“Tonight, I was really just in the right place at the right time,” said Henry. “I’m definitely going to tell coach I need a ‘no fly zone’ hoodie starting next warmups. I’ll probably start working on defensive back drills after practice and start perfecting my craft.”