Published Monday, Jan. 9, 2012 | 10:01 a.m.
Updated Monday, Jan. 9, 2012 | 11:44 a.m.
Las Vegas High quarterback Hasaan Henderson this weekend verbally committed to the UNR football program, picking the Northern Nevada school over UNLV.
“I like their style of play. It reminds me a lot of how we play at Vegas — hard, smart and for all four quarters,” Henderson said. “They never quit.”
Henderson was a three-year starter under center for Las Vegas, passing for 1,480 yards and 17 touchdowns this fall in leading the Wildcats to the Sunrise Regional semifinals. He quarterbacked them to the Northeast Division crown in 2009 and ‘10.
A dual-threat quarterback, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound Henderson finished his career with 78 total touchdowns — 61 passing and 17 rushing. He rushed for 1,255 career yards and passed for 5,123 yards.
“He is obviously very talented. I happy for him,” Las Vegas coach James Thurman said. “ I think he has all of the tools to become a successful Division I athlete.”
The accomplishment of receiving college scholarship is not lost of Henderson. “The biggest deal to me is getting into college and being the first person in my family to college,” he said. “First and foremost, I just want to get a degree.”
While UNLV lost out on Henderson, they did secure a commitment from Basic High offensive lineman J'Ondray Sanders. The 6-foot-5, 240-pound Sanders, whose only scholarship offer was from UNLV, is considered a project for the Rebels and will likely red-shirt.
Sanders was a first-team All-Southeast Division selection this year for Basic, which advanced to the Sunrise semifinals. He's considered an athletic lineman and has room to fill out his frame — making him an ideal prospect for a young UNLV squad.
“He’s a big guy at 6-5, yet he is very athletic and can move,” Basic coach Jeff Cahill said. “That is what they like about him. They like the athleticism he brings.”
Basic High has one of the most respected programs in the Henderson area, playing in the state semifinals three years ago and advancing to the regional semifinals three times since 2008. Yet, Sanders is the school's first Division I player in about 10 years. He's thrilled to potentially open the door for teammates — junior wide receiver Devonte Boyd has already been offered a scholarship by UNLV.
"This is the best feeling I've had in my entire life," he said. "It's amazing this is happening to me."
UNLV is also in contention for a pair from three-time defending state championship Bishop Gorman High. Safety/linebacker Marc Philippi and offensive lineman Ron Scoggins Jr. both took recruiting trips to UNLV in mid-December, and will both travel this weekend to New Mexico before committing. New Mexico's new running backs coach is DeAndre Smith, whose son Ryan, is Gorman's top receiver.
Scoggins, whose father, Ron Scoggins Sr., played for UNLV in the mid-1980s, has also visited Fresno State and San Jose State. Philippi, whose dad Mark used to be the UNLV strength coach, visited Navy last weekend.