A&M spring surprises: Zaycoven Henderson

Editor's note: This week we'll take a brief look at Texas A&M players who surprised us with their performances during spring practice, which wrapped up for the Aggies earlier this month.

Building depth and raising the talent level on the defensive line is one of the most important tasks for Texas A&M in its hopes to find long-term success in the SEC.

The last two recruiting classes have seen particular focus on defensive linemen, especially the 2014 group, which included five defensive linemen. Four of them arrive in the summer but one enrolled early and participated in spring football: tackle Zaycoven Henderson.

The four-star prospect, who was ranked 36th nationally at his position in the 2014 recruiting class, showed quickly that he's ready to contribute, making waves throughout spring football.

"That guy is very, very strong," junior defensive end Julien Obioha said of Henderson. "He has meat and potatoes. Henderson is just a strong guy. Strong, fast, athletic -- whatever is good about a D-lineman, Henderson has right now."

At 6-foot-1, 310 pounds, Henderson brings good size to his position. The freshman showed his eagerness to learn and improve, but he will have to get into better football playing shape, according to defensive coordinator Mark Snyder.

"He's a little bit out of shape," Snyder said. "He does have a big rear end and he's a plugger in the middle. When he's fresh, he's not bad. ... Right now he's three plays and he's done. He's going to bring some beef up front for us."

With strength and conditioning being a focal point in the summer, it stands to reason that Henderson will show up to preseason training camp in August in improved shape. If he continues to progress, he could give the Aggies another viable option at defensive tackle as they look to improve a defense that struggled significantly in 2013.