Henry announces intention to turn pro

Updated: January 1, 2005, 10:37 PM ET
Associated Press

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- West Virginia wide receiver Chris Henry plans to forgo his senior year to enter next spring's NFL draft.

Henry made the announcement Saturday after the Mountaineers' 30-18 loss to No. 17 Florida State in the Gator Bowl.

"I feel like I have nothing else to prove at the college level," Henry said. "I'm looking forward to the next level."

Last month, Henry said he'd let his mother, Carolyn, settle whether he should stay in college.

"My mom looked at me after the game and just shook her head," Henry said. "I knew what it meant."

The 6-foot-5 Henry was West Virginia's best receiving threat in several years. He set a school record with 12 touchdown catches this season and finished with 872 yards receiving after surpassing 1,000 yards a year ago.

But he'll be remembered just as much for his behavior.

Henry, who rarely talked to the media in his two seasons at West Virginia, was suspended for the regular season finale against Pittsburgh for a violation of team rules. The 16-13 loss to rival Pitt cost West Virginia the Big East's bid to the BCS.

Henry also missed the first half of a win over Temple, a punishment handed out by coach Rich Rodriguez for Henry's automatic ejection from an earlier game at Rutgers for two personal fouls.

Rodriguez said after the season that Henry needed to be exemplary in the classroom and in practice to play in the Gator Bowl.

"I wish him luck," Rodriguez said Saturday. "He's practiced hard. He's done some nice things. Let's not throw him to the wolves. I hope he has a great career."

Other than a 40-yard catch, Henry wasn't much of a factor against the Seminoles.

"I thought we were going to end up winning the game in the end," Henry said. "This was one of the most funnest games I've ever played in. Florida State is a great team and they showed it out there. Everybody was hyped up to play on our sidelines."

Maybe too hyped.

Henry stomped, screamed and ripped off his helmet after quarterback Rasheed Marshall misfired on two straight passes intended for him in the first quarter. Henry went to the bench, and one of his coaches put an arm around Henry and talked to him for several minutes.

"We were missing on some opportunities which would have made things a little better for us," Henry said. "But we missed them, that's why I was frustrated."

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press