By MIKE MOGUIN
GTR Sports Writer
Jake Henry will soon be joining family members who have attended or are attending Oklahoma State University. The Union senior will be going to Stillwater to play football next fall after signing with the Cowboys last month.
“It’s awesome,” Henry said. “I’m more than excited. It’s been a family thing for us for awhile now. My dad went there, my brother goes there now, so, it is super-exciting.”
Henry, a 6’4″, 260-pound lineman who has impacted Union’s postseason success in his prep career, said that family wasn’t the only reason he chose Stillwater as his college destination.
“It definitely played a factor, but I think the environment, wanting to win and (Offensive Line) Coach (Charlie) Dickey being a great coach made an impression on me,” he said. “His (Dickey) background is just something that I want to be a part of.”
Dickey has been an assistant coach since the late 1980s and will be in his second season with OSU. He has coached players who have become All-Americans and successful in the NFL.
Henry chose the Cowboys over Pittsburg (Kan.) State and UCO. He said he hasn’t met head coach Mike Gundy yet, but looks forward to doing so as well as the rest of the team when he goes out there in the first week of June.
“They’re very family-oriented people,” Henry said. “They’re caring, they’re going to be there for you when you need them, but they’re also going to be the type to push you to your limit and make you a better person and player.”
There’s been quite an array of Tulsa area players having success with the Cowboys through the years, especially on the defensive line, where former Bixby lineman Bryce Bray is playing.
“I’ve not met them, but I have watched them coming up,” Henry said. “They are great guys at what they do and I’m just trying to follow that path.”
What Henry likes most about being an offensive lineman is the physicality and being in the trenches. His favorite NFL player at that position is Lane Johnson of the Philadelphia Eagles.
“He is a super athletic freakish linemen. He is awesome,” Henry said.
Union has been sending plenty of offensive linemen to Division-I programs through the years. Besides Henry, fellow Union lineman Gabe Cantu is headed to Tulsa. Last year, Ricky Stromberg went to Arkansas after graduating from Union.
“It is just something we pride ourselves on,” Henry said. “Union offense is just run the ball, run the ball, run the ball, it’s kind of what we like to do.”
Henry’s favorite moment came in a playoff game last season.
“We were playing Jenks in the semifinals and we scored with 20 seconds left in the game,” he said. “Unfortunately, we ended up losing, but, in the moment, it was awesome.”
Henry is grateful he got to be part of the 2016 state championship team in his freshman year. But his favorite Union moments are “just being around the guys, having a culture of pushing each other and working hard together and just trying to be the best team we could possibly be,” he said.