Aliquippa's Henry picks West Virginia over Pitt
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Shanell Henry makes no apologies for her diligence in ensuring Dravon, her first born, finds the university that is best for him.
“I call myself a little detective,” she said.
The results of her self-described “investigation” surfaced Monday when Aliquippa star Dravon Henry, the most heavily recruited senior in the WPIAL, said he will attend West Virginia.
Henry, who will play defensive back after rushing for an Aliquippa record 5,454 career yards, chose the Mountaineers over 40 scholarship offers that he whittled to three finalists, including Pitt and Miami.
He made the announcement at the Aliquippa Municipal Building where he struggled briefly to control his emotions.
“This process was hard,” he said. “I'm so nervous right now. I'm scared.”
In the end, he chose the Mountaineers because of his close relationship with West Virginia safeties coach Tony Gibson, a former Pitt assistant.
“It felt like home when he was talking to me,” said Henry, a four-star prospect. “I didn't have that feeling at Pitt. No offense to coach (Matt) House (Pitt's defensive coordinator). I hope we can still have a friendship. I don't want anybody hating me because I didn't go to their school.”
Gibson won over Henry's parents (Roland and Shanell), too.
“My mom was tough,” Henry said. “She asked some hard questions.”
Shanell refused to reveal the substance of her talks with Gibson, House and Miami defensive backs coach Paul Williams. But she said Gibson had all the right answers.
“Just the look in his eyes,” she said. “He was real straight-forward. He was not trying to give us a dream that Dravon was going to start.”“He was poised, pretty honest and we grilled him for a good 2 1⁄2 hours,” Roland Henry said.
Shanell said she also spoke to some Pitt players who were unhappy with the program.
“They were saying that the coaching staff is not on one accord and they are not consistent,” she said. “We didn't want to be involved in a program that wasn't balanced.”
Henry plans to play as a freshman, but he said he wants to earn the right.
“Coach Gibson told me you can start, but ‘It's up to you.' Every other college, they told me, 'We need you.' ”
Henry said Gibson's reputation for developing defensive backs was important.
“I want to go to the NFL, and I think that's my best shot. Coach Gibson has sent 14 defensive backs to the NFL. That's a lot.”
Henry, who visited former Pitt defensive back and fellow Aliquippa graduate Darrelle Revis last weekend in Tampa, Fla., is friends with West Virginia running back Rushel Shell, who left Pitt this year. He said Shell did not try to persuade him.
“He didn't have anything bad to say about Pitt,” Henry said.
Shell, however, tweeted congrats to Henry, which could be seen as a minor recruiting violation by the NCAA. A WVU spokesman said the school notified its compliance office.
Losing Henry puts pressure on Pitt to land three other local four-star prospects: Washington's Shai McKenzie, Mt. Lebanon's Alex Bookser and Gateway's Montae Nicholson.
“It's a really tough blow for Pitt,” said recruiting analyst Jared Shanker of ESPN, which ranks Henry as the best player in the state. “The Panthers can't afford to lose elite WPIAL players especially from Aliquippa. Plus, the Panthers need defensive help especially in the secondary.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Hospital finances still crying ‘ouch’
- Rossi: Brawl for ADs between Pitt and WVU
- No tax increase for Everson next year
- Cezanne likely to attract bidders
- Fleury’s career-best 6th shutout lifts Penguins over Avalanche in overtime
- Trained teachers, staff to treat allergic students under Pennsylvania law
- Normalville church performs Christmas play
- Steelers must be creative in providing snaps for linebackers
- Time is of essence for Pitt in finding football coach, athletic director
- Analysis: Misunderstood Chryst served Pitt well
- West Newton foster father faces child sex charges