Terrapins' Henderson Will Enter NFL Draft

HENDERSON (Preston Keres - The Washington Post)
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By Marc Carig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 3, 2008

Soon after he turned in a strong performance against rival West Virginia this season, Maryland inside linebacker Erin Henderson said he knew he was ready to jump to the next level.

"When you're out there on the field you start to feel different," said Henderson, who racked up 11 tackles with 2 1/2 tackles for losses to lead the Terrapins in a 31-14 loss to the Mountaineers on Sept. 13. "You start to see things a little bit different. And I started to feel that. I started to feel like everything was clicking, like everything made sense out there mentally and physically."

Though he has known his decision for weeks, Henderson announced yesterday that he will forgo his senior year and enter the NFL draft, ending speculation about his future. The move came as no surprise after Henderson submitted paperwork to be reviewed by the NFL draft advisory board, which projected Henderson as a third-round choice.

Henderson, who led the Terrapins this season in tackles (133), tackles for a loss (11) and fumble recoveries (four), consulted his family during the decision-making process. In addition to speaking with his older brother E.J., the former Terrapin now with the Minnesota Vikings, Henderson sought the counsel of other former Terrapins in the NFL, including Shawne Merriman, Vernon Davis and D'Qwell Jackson.

"Everybody was behind me and everybody agreed that it was time for me to go and take the step to the next level. And we just agreed that whichever way I went, that I would have no regrets about the decision I make," Henderson said. "Right now, I think we're making the right one."

Henderson said only a serious injury would have kept him at Maryland for his senior year, though he kept his decision private in hopes it would not become a distraction for his team.

"After the first four or five games, I kind of already knew," he said. "But I just didn't want it to be a media thing."

Maryland Coach Ralph Friedgen was unavailable for comment. Henderson said he took the news well.

"He knew it was coming," he said. "I think he understood. I think he took it well."

In the weeks leading up to training camp, Henderson said his priority will be to regain the explosiveness he lost while playing through several injuries this season. He hopes to be healthy in time for testing at the draft combine, which could have a significant impact on when he is selected.

Cavs' Albert Will Turn Pro

Branden Albert, a 6-foot-7, 310-pound guard, will forgo his final season of eligibility at Virginia and enter the NFL draft, the first-team all-ACC selection told the Roanoke Times.

"I have been thinking about this decision for about the last month," said Albert, 23. "I've known for the last week or so that I'm going to come out."

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