Burned on path to Saints

As he got older, though, Hendrickson’s passion for sports burned hotter than most other kids his age; his father, Collie Hendrickson, remembers telling his wife, Louise, on more than one occasion that their son was taking losses in one-on-one basketball way too hard for something so lighthearted.

Hendrickson was never a kid who loved to play football but wanted to be a doctor; from the time he was 4 or 5, he always told his parents he was headed to the NFL.

Collie Hendrickson had played defensive end and tight end in high school in Ocala, Florida, and spent a season at Missouri Southern before a devastating shoulder injury ended his career, and he’d seen enough football to recognize the potential.

A player like Trey Hendrickson isn’t supposed to end up at a place like Florida Atlantic, a program that has produced just seven NFL draft picks in its 17 seasons of existence, all in the past eight years.

Hendrickson ended up at FAU because of an ill-timed position change at Apopka High School, a shift that prevented him from getting big-time scholarship offers at the position he wanted to play.

“Here’s the deal on that: He was a kick-ass defensive end, he started his sophomore and junior years,” Collie Hendrickson said.

So then his senior year (he shifted to tight end), which probably was a mistake, because if he’d have played defensive end, he’d have had a lot more film at defensive end and he probably would have gotten a lot more looks.” Playing for an Apopka team that won the state championship, Hendrickson caught seven touchdown passes, including a highlight-reel play where he made a catch over the middle, broke two tackles and rumbled into the end zone.

Despite the presence of Pro Bowler Cameron Jordan on one side, the Saints got precious little production out of the other defensive end spot last season, and New Orleans added Alex Okafor in free agency, get back Hau’oli Kikaha from injury and drafted both Hendrickson and Al-Quadin Muhammad to improve the talent and depth at the position.

A lightly recruited player who had to catch the attention of NFL scouts while playing for a college team that finished 3-9 three consecutive seasons, Hendrickson is used to adversity.