Kingwood Park High graduate Jaylon Henderson, Class of 2015, has put Lake Houston on the map – in Idaho! And the West Coast sports media sing his praises.
The online sports blog “Sportsnaut,” which covers professional sports teams and the NCAA, raved about the Lake Houston native’s third quarter efforts for Boise State when he “… blasted into Hawaii’s defensive block, flew into the air, reached the football out and got just enough for the touchdown …”
The sports media called it a “helicopter touchdown” reminiscent of Hall of Famer John Elway who performed the same maneuver.
- Kingwood Park’s Jaylon Henderson hits his stride at Boise State -
Not bad for a kid who spent four years on three different college teams and never got to play until his final four games this year.
“His mom and I went to every game wherever they were,” recalled Jaylon’s dad, Lou Henderson, a 1983 graduate of Kingwood High School. Lou retired as the longtime coach at Northeast Christian Academy, now called Covenant Preparatory School. He runs a small trucking business, sells real estate, referees, coaches Little League – and keeps an eye on Jaylon who has finished up what has turned out to be a very successful final year of college.
Jaylon was an early graduate of Kingwood Park High School, allowing him to enroll at the University of Texas-San Antonio in time for spring practice, but a change in coaching staff his second year didn’t fit Jaylon’s style of play.
He spent a semester in 2017 at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas, before getting in touch with Boise State’s offensive coordinator, a coach who’d attempted to recruit him for another school. This coach jumped at the chance to recruit Jaylon as number-two quarterback for the Boise State Broncos.
“We’ve done a lot of praying over him, told him to keep his head up, you never know when opportunity will come up, put him on a plane to Boise and, a week later, he was attending classes,” says his mom, Kim Henderson, a benefits manager and 1984 graduate of Kingwood High. “As his parents, we knew he was a Texas boy. We thought he’d be shocked at the weather in Idaho, but he survived. He thrived.”
This year, however, Jaylon found himself in third place when Boise State brought in a freshman as the number-two quarterback.
“Instead of complaining, and that would have been easy, I decided to turn it all around,” Jaylon said. “I told my mom and dad maybe God has me here for a different purpose. I’ll be an example for the younger guys because, as a senior, I could see they were looking at me for direction.”
That was Jaylon’s attitude for the first eight games of this season, his mom says. He didn’t see action on the field, but he cheered on the team, motivated the two quarterbacks, and helped the younger guys get prepared.
“When he had the opportunity, when the first two quarterbacks were both out with injuries, he was ready,” said his mom.
“I’d worked so much with the younger guys, I was prepared,” said Jaylon.
And prepared he was.
Jaylon debuted as quarterback in Boise State’s final three games. He threw his first-career touchdown pass against Hawaii, scored three touchdowns with an interception against New Mexico, scored three touchdowns against Utah State, another pair of touchdowns at Colorado State, passed for 212 yards and two touchdowns on 20-for-29 passing, ran for 51 yards and a score against Hawaii – and was named the 2019 Mountain West Conference Offensive MVP.
After not seeing field action in so many games, Kim and Lou Henderson were surprised when they got the call a month ago that Jaylon was going to start.
“You never know,” admitted Kim. “It was senior night, his first start of his college career. He’d worked so hard for four years. We were overjoyed when we saw that he really was starting at the New Mexico game.”
“Jaylon learned so much from his Kingwood Park Coach, Jim Holley (now head football coach at Porter High School). He made a huge impression on Jaylon,” said his dad. “Coach Holley knew how to communicate with the boys. He worked with Jaylon and that prepared Jaylon for his college career.”
Jaylon is back with his family at their home at Park Lake Estates in Humble enjoying the Christmas break with his big brother, Jeremy, and wife, Bre, who live in Atascocita, and big sister, Jamille Wilburn, married to Terrance and living in Utah.
He’s graduating from Boise State with a degree in business management as a member of the class of 2019, but he’ll miss graduation because he’ll be with his teammates at the Las Vegas Bowl playing against the University of Washington.
In February, Jaylon will participate in Boise State Pro Day, giving NFL scouts the opportunity to size him up. He’d like to keep playing for the NFL or the new XFL or the Canadian Football League, whatever works out.
Eventually, he wants to work for one of the leagues or even take up coaching.
Jaylon Henderson, who began the season as the third-string quarterback, who had never played until the final three games of his senior year, has significant advice for anyone, young or older, who needs a little inspiration.