SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: Jeremy Hensley
Oct. 5, 2011
Offensive lineman Jeremy Hensley has been a part of Old Dominion football since almost the beginning. He came to the school his freshman year in the spring of 2009. Not only did he get the opportunity to play for a brand new football team, he got to experience life on the east coast. Hensley grew up in La Palma, California, and had not been to the east coast until deciding to come to ODU. Playing football throughout high school and then a semester at Fullerton College, Hensley had a few universities scouting him. After getting injured five games into his season at Fullerton the interest level decreased.
"After blowing my knee out a lot of schools thought I would need surgery and would not be able to play the following season," Hensley recalls. ODU still saw great potential in him and maintained interest.
"I did not know much about ODU or the program. I came out here to see the school and really liked the facilities," remembers Hensley.
The attractiveness of the schools facilities, arguably one of the top among the FCS that includes the $24.8 million dollar renovation of Foreman Field along with the brand new 48,000 square foot Powhatan Sports Complex, along with the fact that the coaches saw potential in Hensley, even after his injury, made leaving his home on the left coast worth it.
"When I got here in the spring I began working out right away, it was tough because I had not done any physical activity in about four months."
The workouts were not the only hard part about his first few months on the east coast. Hensley was one of 12 guys that had been added to the team in the spring; everyone else had been together practicing and getting to know one another in the fall of 2008.
"It was tough at first being one of the new kids on the block. The 12 of us that were new sort of just hung around each other," Hensley recalls of his first semester. Once summer rolled around and the "new kids" and "old kids" practiced together day in and day out; the bond between teammates began to form. The spring had been filled with workouts that did not require all players to be there at the same time, "summer practice really brought us all together," Hensley recalls.
Again there was something else that contributed to Hensley's rough go at life on the right side of the country. Out of all the new experiences he was getting used to, perhaps the toughest one to adjust to was the sporadic weather changes and high humidity.
"The weather was the biggest deal because of the humidity during summer and the cold winters. The temperature back home never went below 60," Hensley stated. Back in California he could tell the weather by looking out his window... if it was cloudy, he would wear a sweatshirt; here he says it will be cloudy and still hot and humid. The bright sunny days in the winter time also confuse this west coast native.
"I have never seen sunny days that were so cold," he said about winters in Virginia."I had to buy my first set of winter clothes when I got here."
After the obstacles of weather, a new football program, and a new home away from home were overcome, Hensley and his teammates played a very successful first year.
Now in the program's third year the players get to experience another first by playing in the CAA, "Everyone's excited, the workouts we did this summer were a lot more intense," Hensley states.
In addition to the workouts and just doing the things they have been doing all along, another factor helps this teams' success...trust
"The trust we have for one another is even stronger because we have been together for three years now, you can depend on the guy next to you that they are going to do their job and that makes a big difference," says Hensley.
Hensley will be graduating this May with a degree in business finance. He plans on moving back to California after graduation where his family still lives. There are some things Hensley has to look forward to before he wraps up his time here at ODU.
"My family will get to see me play for the first time this year, they are going to come to senior night which is the game against Richmond," Hensley says with a smile.
With that game being at the beginning of November, Hensley should warn his family about the possibility of the temperature being below 60 degrees, and make sure they pack a few different options... because here in Virginia you never do know what the weather will be like.
Check out the next Senior Spotlight with wide receiver Prentice Gill after the Towson game.