Making it out of the junior college (JUCO) level is not a task for the weak-minded. Many players travel across the country to go to big time JUCOs or search for schools that can help them make it to a Division 1 school. That is what it was like for Artie Henry III as he rolled the dice on himself after not getting the offers he was looking for as a senior in high school in Sarasota, Florida.
“Luckily”, the dice landed on seven for the Florida native as he shined out in San Diego, California at San Diego Mesa College. He played wide receiver for the Olympians as he was more of a speedster at 6’1,185 pounds. Make no mistake Henry III can get physical when it is time to high point the rock and he is tough enough to run routes over the middle. He accumulated 25 catches, 505 yards, and four touchdowns with a staggering 20.2 yards per catch average.
Henry III used his unique skills to his advantage as he landed offers from schools like Bowling Green, Middle Tennessee State, Memphis, and more. Ultimately, he fell in love with the Thundering Herd as he committed to Marshall.
Henry III referred to Marshall as the “best choice” as he felt like that had the best in mind for him on and off the field. He described the conversations as more than football as the coaching staff focused on how he could and should perform in the classroom. Another telltale sign was the talks they had about life because football will end at some point. The Floridian talked about what it was like being recruited by his new coaches.
“The recruiting process, with Marshall, was love from the beginning, even now. I got advice from a lot of people, but the person who thought Marshall would be a perfect fit for me was Karan Higdon (Michigan running back),” said the speedy wideout. “I had support from my family on whatever decision I made. I just prayed one night to God to help me make the right decision and to put me in the best position, on and off the field, and everything brought me to Marshall.”
Committing to Marshall was a crowning achievement for the Sarasota native. He was so proud of himself after being a victim to a bank scamming incident, being flat broke and nearly evicted, and barely skating by in school at one point. Through it all he held his head high and leaned on family to get him through that rough transition when he first got to San Diego. His father and sister were ecstatic when he committed to the Thundering Herd.
Henry III just checked into Marshall and is excited to be rooming with a quarterback. He recalls talking to him before arriving in West Virginia as he used that opportunity as a chance to get more familiar with a guy that could start. He also talked about the nuances of the offense and what intrigued him about the offensive scheme.
“I like that they are not scared to take shots down the field and that they spread the ball around. Also, they find a way to get the playmakers the ball,” said the new member of the Thunder Herd.
Most players are worried about making an impact immediately upon arrival or getting familiar with the playbook. Those are good things to focus on as an incoming player, but Henry III has another approach. He is simply focused on staying healthy as he knows he will make an impact when he is called on. It is easy to forget about being healthy, but it is an important factor.
In the end, it goes back to something deeper than football for the former Olympian. He wants Marshall to remember him as a great student-athlete as well as someone that was a positive force in the school’s community. Being someone from the inner city, Henry III wants to serve as a hallmark for up and coming players to look at and realize that they too can make it out of that rough environment.
Henry III is also working on changing the dynamics of his family.
“I want to graduate with my degree, I’ll be the first to do that. Also, I promised my loved ones I will get it. As for my football career, I want to leave my mark on Marshall and continue to the next level,” remarked Henry III.
After being a victim of a bank scamming incident to questioning his decision to go the JUCO route, Henry III finds himself realizing hindsight is 20/20 as he is happy the way things turned out. He longed for the opportunity to make it to a D1 school as he weathered the storm to get to this point. It is not hard to see why he made the natural move to joining the Thunder Herd.