Brothers J.R., Ty Hensley share moment as J.R. signs with Hawaii
EDMOND — J.R. Hensley ranked Wednesday’s National Signing Day as the second-best day of his life, while his older brother Ty ranked it as the best day of his life.
That seems a little odd since J.R. Hensley signed his National Letter of Intent to play college football at Hawaii in front of the Edmond Santa Fe student body, bringing to end an odd few days and setting up a future in paradise.
Hensley then told the crowd with tears that the best day of his life came when Ty was drafted in the first round of the 2012 MLB Draft by the New York Yankees.
“When my brother got drafted, I looked up to him so much and the amount of work he put in to get to the place he was,” Hensley said. “He was already a tremendous athlete his junior year, but he realized if he wanted to achieve his dreams and get drafted in the spot he wanted to get drafted at he would have to work, work, work, and he did. He did everything he possibly could to get there and it came true. That was the coolest thing I’ve seen in my entire life.”
The Hensley brothers have a special bond despite being nearly four years apart in age, and it showed in the Santa Fe gym as both embraced in a long, tearful hug following the ceremony.
Ty Hensley followed suit, appearing ecstatic for his little brother.
“It’s going to sound a little cliché because he said it earlier, but this by far, not even close, is the coolest day of my life,” Ty said. “I’ve seen a lot of pretty neat things, but there is not one person I want anything more for in this life than my brother. I can care less what happens to me or what I do if he’s successful.”
J.R. Hensley was the anchor on Edmond Santa Fe’s offensive line the past three seasons, including last season in which he led the way for junior running back Darran Williams’ 2,000-yard season. Hensley was named to The Oklahoman’s All-State team.
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But scholarship offers still never piled up. Hawaii was the lone school to offer, and Hensley took full advantage of the offer and went on an official visit.
“He’s one of the most confusing players I’ve ever had for me because I feel like the things the college guys said he needs to improve on that we did, he did that in the offseason with flexibility and physicality,” Edmond Santa Fe coach Lance Manning said. “He’s 6-6 and there’s a lot of offenses he can fit in at the next level. It was always confusing to me as to why he didn’t get more offers than Hawaii, but he’s going to end up successful and happy.”
Tuesday, he said he would not sign until next week while holding out for other opportunities. A few hours later, he had changed his mind after visiting with various recruiters. He was heading to the beach.
“I can’t explain how blessed I am with that,” Hensley said. “No one gets to say they get to do that, let alone go to the college and play football there. I can’t wait.”
Hensley said he is focusing on football this spring and not playing baseball as he did in the past, which is perhaps a little bit of a downer for his older brother.
Soon, the brothers will have to depart again like the past three years. This time, a vacation following baseball season in September appears to be in the works.
“He’s going to be out in Hawaii, a nice place and not a terrible vacation spot, right?” Ty Hensley said. “He plays football right around the time I’m done playing baseball, so I’m figuring for like a month or so I’ll go out to Hawaii and train.”
J.R. added: “The best part about Ty is he can always find a way to get to me.”