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October 12, 2011Four days after returning from his official visit, Traveon Henry is a Wildcat.
The three-star athlete from Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) Pine Crest committed to Northwestern on Wednesday night, choosing the Wildcats over offers from the likes of Georgia Tech and Florida State. He said that the total package offered by the Wildcats couldn't be beat.
"I saw a place (on my visit) that would prepare me for life," he said. "It's not an investment for the next four years, it's an investment in the rest of my life. Northwestern gives me the best of both worlds. It's a top 12 school academically, and they play in the Big Ten."
Henry, who is the 32nd-ranked athlete in the country and 79th-ranked prospect in the talent-rich Sunshine State, will play safety for the Wildcats. He was initially recruited by Northwestern as a running back but requested a switch to defense because he thought that the position suited him better at the next level.
"I think I can reach my top shelf at safety, and I like to play in space a little more," he said.
Henry called Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald tonight to make his verbal commitment. And what was the coach's reaction to the news?
"The first thing he did was yell," he said with a laugh. "That's the type of guy he is. If he is excited, he'll show you he's excited."
Henry then tweeted the big news via Twitter. His message: "Your boy is elated to be a part of the #WildcatFamily," he tweeted. "I'm pretty excited to gain everything I can under @coachfitz51."
He added #GoCats and #ambition hash tags for good measure.
Henry first visited Northwestern in June, when he was in the Chicago area for an AAU basketball tournament. This time, for his official, he was blown away by the night game atmosphere at Ryan Field.
"I loved it," he said. "The fans were into it and it was a sold out game. You only play six games a year there, but it was still great to see. It was the first time I got to see Big Ten football."
Henry said he is relieved to commit because "the monkey's off my back now. Now I can just finish off my high school career."
And he is excited to officially be a member of the Wildcat family.
This is a lifetime decision I'm making," he said. "For the rest of my life I'm going to be known as a Northwestern guy, and that sounds good to me."