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Josh Henson Thriving at Alma Mater As Offensive Line Coach

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Finding the right coach to fit OSU’s culture has proven to be nearly as important for OSU as finding the right players to fit the scheme and system in place in Stillwater.

Under Mike Gundy, that hypothesis especially rings true for coach Josh Henson.

Henson, who was a four-year letterman at OSU from 1994-1997, has been a seamless fit since returning to his alma mater. After serving as an offensive analyst under Gundy in 2016, he took the reins of the offensive line from Greg Adkins in 2017 and has thrived. A mixture of fit and favor has allowed him to recruit at a high level while developing into a well-respected coach the big boys up front can relate to.

“He’s a very good coach who really understands and loves the game of football,” said recent OL pledge Cole Birmingham. “He cares about all of his players. And as a recruiter, he stayed in touch with me very well. He was always checking up with me and we talked frequently.

“When we talked on the phone, it wasn’t always all about football either. We talked about fishing and other things we enjoyed in our free time.”

After signing five high school offensive linemen in the 2018 class to replenish the youth and talent of the position group, Henson’s encore in the 2019 cycle has been equally as impressive. Thus far, he’s landed four commitments from offensive linemen — three of which are among the five highest-rated commitments in OSU’s 2019 class.

Henson’s success has undeniably made a huge impact on a program that was devoid of depth along the offensive line. He’s a versatile coach who can identify talent, recruit it, and develop it. The holy trinity of coaching.

His secret sauce starts with relationships.

“Recruiting is relationships,” Henson said last summer. “I think it’s just being genuine, and getting a young man and his family to understand what the culture of our program is, who Mike Gundy is, and what his vision is…”

Under the direction of Henson’s predecessor, Greg Adkins, landing commitments wasn’t a problem. It was hanging on to them that was his biggest downfall. In 2016, long-time pledge Ryan McCollum de-committed from the Pokes and committed to A&M 11 days later. That was the beginning of Adkins’ struggles, as he lost three commitments to Texas schools in the 2017 cycle — Adrian Wolford and Dan Moore to A&M, and Derek Kerstetter to Texas. It ultimately ended his tenure at OSU.

Since then, Henson has been a star of the coaching staff. Last cycle, none of his five commitments bolted to other programs.¬†This cycle, he’s landed four verbal commitments. Again, no defections.

Though signing day may be months away *knocks on wood extremely hard*, the relationships he’s formed and his track record of connecting with his players suggests he’ll once again have a 100 percent hit rate.

So if the current commitment results hold true, he’ll have totally flipped the five-year outlook of the program’s talent up front in a two-year span. Thanks to those relationships he’s built and nurtured, smart money is on him to exceed whatever expectation you have of him.

“I’m excited to know Henson will be my coach at OSU,” said Birmingham. “I’m really looking forward to the years to come and to see how I grow under his coaching.”

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