2018 NFL Draft: Quadree Henderson’s motivation to be great

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 24: Quadree Henderson
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 24: Quadree Henderson /

2018 NFL Draft: Former Pitt Panther Quadree Henderson is motivated to be great. In an exclusive interview with NFL Mocks, he talks about why…

Quadree Henderson is a 5-foot-8, 190 pound offensive and special teams weapon in the 2018 NFL Draft.

What Henderson lacks in size, he more than makes up for in speed, athleticism, and playmaking ability, which is why he was the top recruit in the state of Delaware and a prized player for the Pitt recruiting class of 2015.

Henderson was an instant impact player at Pitt, returning kicks and playing some wide receiver as a true freshman and taking the opening kickoff of the Military Bowl for a touchdown.

Most of time, it seems like guys who lack for size or weren’t recruited heavily coming out of high school, or who maybe don’t have the physical traits in general play with a ‘chip’ on their shoulder. But for Henderson, it wasn’t just that. His motivation doesn’t come from critics, it comes from a childhood friend.

“Going into my junior year of high school, I had a childhood friend named Chad Jones who was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma, Henderson told us in an exclusive interview. “I knew this was somebody that looked up to me. Going into my junior year I asked my head coach if I could change to the number 10 just to show him, show Chad that he still has somebody in his corner.

To this day I still wear the number 10. Everything I do is for him. To show him that everybody in the state of Delaware including myself was pulling for him.

He beat cancer. I got a tattoo for him. My logo is ‘QH10’ and the ‘QH’ obviously stands for Quadree Henderson and the 10 is for me and Chad. That number is very significant to us. We always throw up a number 10 when we take pictures with each other.”


Henderson’s relationship with Jones has been instrumental in his success on the football field. He says Jones is someone he looks up to, and every time he puts on that number 10 jersey, he’s reminded of what his ‘little bro’ has overcome.

And he brings that fire to the football field.

Football began for Henderson at the age of five. He started playing a variety of positions at the age of eight and carried it all the way through college.

“I feel like that’s going to help me transition very well,” Henderson said. “Playing all those roles, I feel like I’ll be a very versatile player at the next level. Kick return, punt return, wide receiver, slot, running back. Just get me in space.”

Henderson is an artist when it comes to making plays in space. Don’t believe me?

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There is an art to returning kicks and punts. There’s nothing more impressive to me than a player that has consistent success in the return game. How does Henderson do it?

“It’s a process. You don’t just go in there and be successful right away. I give all the praise to special teams coach Andre Powell. Watching tape, knowing your opponents’ weaknesses, and knowing who makes the most tackles on the special teams, you have to watch film. I know who makes the most tackles so we always try to run away from that side.”

Henderson’s explosive playmaking ability will be attractive to NFL teams, and his ability to play multiple positions will be highly valued as well.

The way the NFL is going, players like Henderson can be brought in as mismatch players and obviously he’s a guy you want on the field in the return game as well. Players like this might have been lost in the shuffle five years ago, but NFL coaches are really starting to adapt their strategies and ways they get players like Henderson on the field.

Right now, many predict Henderson will be a day three pick. If that’s the case, someone is going to be getting a big time steal.