John Collins and Hendricks – a pair of North Platte seniors – ended up signing together to play football at Missouri Valley College in Marshall, Mo. They made the commitments official during a ceremony Wednesday, Feb. 2 at North Platte High School, even if they didn’t necessarily plan on the joint venture.
“We talked about it in the past, but it just sort of happened,” Collins said.
Originally committed to University of St. Mary in Leavenworth, Kan., Hendricks ended up at the NAIA powerhouse following an all-state senior season. He earned honors from both the Missouri media (first team) and Missouri Football Coaches Association (second team) after registering 93 tackles and 11 passes defensed from his safety spot.
In addition, Hendricks also posted 985 yards and eight touchdowns rushing and 23 catches for 361 yards – all team highs for North Platte. His three receiving scores were second to Kyle Ewing.
Hendricks played a big part in a resurgent 5-7 season that ended with a loss to West Platte in the Class 1 District 7 title game. The Panthers won just one game in the previous two years combined.
“It’s definitely become something special,” Hendricks said. “I think the community is a lot better, and they’re going to keep working to be the best they can be.”
Listed at 6-foot-1, 255 pounds, Collins produced a breakout senior season from his interior defensive line spot. He collected 85 tackles (three for loss) and four sacks, earning third team MFCA all-state honors.
Collins produced a season highlight in North Platte’s 2-0 win to open the season, forcing a number of errant snaps from Gallatin’s center – one that led to a first-half safety that ended up the only points in a unique win that snapped a seven-game losing streak from the previous season. He ended up being part of the first signing class for first-year coach Josh Rodriguez, who sent a pair to his alma mater on signing day.
“I wasn’t even expecting to play college football, and he came in and gave me hope for that,” Collins said of Rodriguez.