COLUMBIA, S.C. — It’s almost a sure thing that Coastal Carolina running back De’Angelo “Hop” Henderson will find the end zone.
The Chants fifth-year senior holds the NCAA Division I mark for consecutive games with a touchdown, currently 29 games and counting. Henderson ran past the old mark of 27 set by Virginia Tech runner Lee Suggs from 2000 through 2002 with his 17-yard burst in the opening quarter of Coastal’s 49-10 victory over Florida A&M on Sept. 10. Henderson extended things last Saturday with his 4-yard TD run in the third quarter of a 27-26 loss at Jacksonville State.
“I didn’t even know much about it until the guys started talking about last year,” Henderson said.
That’s when Henderson topped the Football Championship Series mark of 20 previously held by Monmouth running back David Sinisi in the 2006 and 2007 seasons. Henderson looked at scoring touchdowns as his job on the field, but acknowledges he’s enjoyed his run to the record.
“It’s real cool,” Henderson said.
He’ll try to keep the streak going Saturday against Furman.
Coastal Carolina coach Joe Moglia, hired before Henderson’s redshirt season in 2012, said Henderson has been accountable and reliable from the moment they met. So it was a no brainer, Moglia said, trusting him with the ball around the goal line when Coastal needed points.
“He’s a hard worker,” Moglia said. “It was easy to have confidence in him.”
Henderson, nicknamed “Hop” in high school because he appears to hop when changing directions on cuts, grew up dreaming of big time football while starring for Summerville High. He was a finalist for South Carolina’s “Mr. Football” award in 2010, an honor eventually won by Houston Texans first-overall NFL draft pick Jadeveon Clowney.
Henderson had thought he would join Clowney, who played college ball at South Carolina, at a Southeastern Conference or Atlantic Coast Conference school. But at 5-foot-8, Henderson was considered too small to make it at a Power Five program and signed with the Chanticleers.
Henderson spent his first season off the field strengthening his academics, then red-shirted in 2012 because Coastal Carolina had a glut of running backs including FCS All-American Lorenzo Taliaferro.
When Henderson did play, he wasted little time having an impact. His first college touchdown came in his fourth game of 2013, a 2-yard run in a blowout win over Hampton.
Henderson’s streak started the next season as he took over as a starter from Taliaferro with a 5-yard scoring run against Citadel. Henderson help lead the Chants into the FCS playoffs where they lost in the semifinals to eventual champion North Dakota State.
Henderson broke the FCS consecutive games with a TD mark at Monmouth last season with Sinisi in attendance. “This has been a very special time for me,” Henderson said.
He’s got more ahead. Should Henderson keep the touchdown streak going this season — Coastal is transitioning between its FCS past and the Football Bowl Subdivision after joining the Sun Belt Conference last July — he will tie the all division mark of 38 held by Chadron State’s Danny Woodhead.
Henderson, who graduated after his junior season, considered leaving college this spring and got what he said was “good feedback” from the NFL draft advisory board. But Henderson said he wanted to finish his college journey the right way.
If he matches Woodhead’s mark, great, Henderson said. His goal remains the same each game — do what he can to help Coastal Carolina succeed.
The streak “has never been on my mind,” Henderson said. “It’s nothing I think about. I just want to play as well as I can.”
Online: AP College Football website www.collegefootball.ap.org