Everyone went right, so he went left. An 80-yard touchdown run snapped Dinwiddie's 32-game regular season winning streak. That's when Hopewell football coach Ricky Irby knew TreVeyon Henderson had next-level potential.
"Wow, him with the ball in his hands, he's just ... electric," said Irby.
WATCH: 5-star RB TreVeyon Henderson (@TreveyonH15) hit a record breaking max speed of 21.6 MPH on this 99-yard TD #myRAmaxspeed💨No other 2021 athlete has a faster max speed to-date @SWiltfong247 @AABonNBC @DemetricDWarren pic.twitter.com/UjeFp3Omnx— Recruiting Analytics (@RecruitAlytics1) March 16, 2020
In the weeks leading up to that game in 2018, the then-sophomore nudged Irby for an opportunity to carry the ball. In his mind his future was at running back. He's explosive, fond of scoring touchdowns and making defenders miss, but Henderson had been slotted at wide receiver and defensive back for most of his high school career. A depleted running back platoon provided him his chance.
"The game before that, all of our running backs went down," said Henderson. "They had no choice but to put me in the backfield."
The 4th quarter housecall from the wildcat broke a 0-0 tie and secured a victory.
"I knew it would be a little cutback when I saw everybody flowing to the right," said Henderson.
Now premier programs across the country covet the 5-11, 195 pound Virginia Gatorade player of the year, who rushed for 1,989 yards and 39 touchdowns on 157 carries (12.7 YPC, .25 touchdowns per carry) last season.
"His speed is top-notch," said Irby. "He won the 55 meters for the state track meet. His work ethic is unbelievable. His ability to jump cut and to move laterally, and then accelerate and get back to full speed, obviously you can't teach that as a coach, it's unreal. His vision has gotten better. He hadn't had a lot of carries at running back. He's still learning the position at the high school level this year, as the season went on you could see how much better his instincts and vision got."
He quickly grasped how to find the fold on inside and outside zones, a bread and butter package in Hopewell's (and the Hokies') run attack, but it took a bit more time to understand the nuance and patience of letting a counter run develop.
"He was always a little too quick to the hole at first, so we had to slow him down," said Irby. "Then once he figured out how to take that counter step and let his pullers get over there he would score most of the time he touched the ball."
The No. 2 running back nationally per the 247Sports Composite (0.9888, 5-star) released a top 9 of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Georgia, Texas, Ohio State, North Carolina, Penn State, Michigan and Oklahoma. The Hokies were fortunate enough to host him on an unofficial visit prior COVID-19 induced recruiting dead period which bars in-person recruiting until at least April 15.
Henderson was welcomed to Blacksburg by a bevy of signs and high-touch treatment from the Virginia Tech staff.
"I had never seen anything like it," said Henderson. "Virginia Tech fans show a lot of love. It was fun getting to see that, and knowing how much me being on their campus means to them."
It was all hands on deck for the Hokies, but the staff made it a point to connect Henderson with its three standout alumni on staff, to stress what he could accomplish at "home".
"As soon as we got there, it felt like the entire football staff, secretaries, everybody was there, strength and conditioning guys, to greet us at the Merryman Center," said Irby. "It was a really good visit. He got to sit down, a little round robin discussion with Darryl Tapp, Justin Hamilton, and Pierson Prioleau."
According to Irby, the Hokies' emphasized he could be "a homerun hitter" at Tech, someone who "stays in-state and becomes a legend", and "an impact player and not just another 5-star".
Naturally, for the straight-A high school student, and planned finance major, academics are important. The trip included a stop at the Pamplin College of Business which Henderson said was a "great business school".
Beyond his education, he's looking for a program that sets him up for life after football and a sincere connection with a coaching staff. As far as relationships are concerned, he noted Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Virginia lead the way.
He said of the Hokies, "They're definitely putting together something special. They're doing great things. They got a bunch of good players. They're a young team, so they should be pretty good this year though."
The results on Saturday matter for the rising senior too.
"I want to compete for a national championship," said Henderson. "I want to be part of a winning team. I want to win. I like to win, I don't like to lose."
And even though he's still going through the process, a commitment might catch recruitniks by surprise.
"I don't have a specific date because a lot of recruits are committing so early nowadays, and spots are getting filled up," said Henderson. "I'm still doing my research right now, but a commitment could come at any time though."