As a Recruit
Cerge-Henderson was one of three recruits from last year's class to enroll early (alongside Will Bryan and Harland Howell). He was rated by Rivals and the 247Sports Composite as a three-star recruit (5.5 and 0.8414, respectively). Among the offers which Cerge-Henderson received were Boston College, Mississippi State, Pitt, Virginia and West Virginia.
As Joey talked about in the "Meet the Recruits" piece for Cerge-Henderson, he is the son of former Tech linebacker Kevin Henderson, who happened to play alongside current Tech defensive coordinator Ted Roof.
At the beginning of the season, the plan for Cerge-Henderson was to redshirt and join the team next season as a redshirt-freshman. That didn't exactly go according to plan. Prior to the fifth game of the season, Tech lifted his redshirt allowing him to play the rest of the season.
He ended up playing in six games, starting three of them. He finished the season with 12 total tackles (three solo) and 0.5 tackles for loss.
Though his numbers weren't terrific, Cerge-Henderson was still able to make an impact, especially following Adam Gotsis' injury, even if he couldn't replace Gotsis.
In fact, he played about as well as one could expect a player in position to play. He showed decent quickness and burst, but there were still plenty of times where he didn't know what he was doing.
Some of that comes from inexperience, but a lot of that also comes from not really having anyone around him to help him. It's the same problem Adam Gotsis had while he was here. Gotsis was a fantastic defensive tackle for us. The only problem, though, was that he was our best defensive lineman and it wasn't close. When that happens, it's easy for the offensive line to commit two or more guys to a single defensive lineman.
Now, I'm not trying to say that Cerge-Henderson was our best defensive lineman. He wasn't. What I am saying is that players tend to be better when they are surrounded by other players that are also good. I don't think it's a stretch to say that without Adam Gotsis absorbing double teams (because he was our only good defensive lineman), we would have gotten virtually zero pressure on any quarterback.
Last year, Cerge-Henderson was a freshman. He made freshman mistakes, but for the most part was still a very solid player. As this year's defensive line is another year older and more experienced, I think we'll start to see some improvement from those around him, which since he will also have another year of experience, will allow Cerge-Henderson to have a much-improved year. What also helps is that I believe he'll be one of Tech's starters at defensive tackle full time this season.