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Hendricks to play football at Central

NORWAY’S KODY HENDRICKS stands in front of his locker at Central Michigan University.

MOUNT PLEASANT — After graduating Norway High School in 2020, three-sport athlete Kody Hendricks was offered several scholarships and opportunities to play college football, including an offer from NCAA Division I Central Michigan.

The 2019 Division 7-8 All-State first team lineman and All-U.P. Small School tight end declined all offers and enrolled at Ferris State with no intent to participate in college athletics.

But as of the beginning of Central’s winter semester earlier this month, Hendricks is now a member of the Chippewas football team. He transfered after one semester at Ferris State and is now enrolled full-time at CMU.

“A year ago I wasn’t ready for this type of commitment,” Hendricks explained in a phone interview late last week. “But I am certainly enjoying it now. The facilities are brand new here, and they treat us very well.”

Hendricks is currently considered a preferred walk- on, but he said he will hopefully be on scholarship as soon next fall semester.

While attending Ferris this past fall, the CMU coaches and recruitment staff kept on contacting Hendricks to transfer, as the spot on the team he was promised the prior fall was still available.

In fact, current Minnesota Vikings tight end and former CMU football player Tyler Conklin got in touch with Hendricks via text.

“I was shocked. All of a sudden he was texting me, telling me to transfer to CMU,” Hendricks said excitedly. “He was a walk-on at CMU as well, so the tight end coach had him talk to me.”

There are currently five other tight ends on the CMU depth chart, plus Hendricks. Half are upperclassmen. Hendricks noted that one of the other tight ends is from Petoskey.

“The older guys are great coaches for me and the other younger tight ends,” Hendricks said. “If had to do it all over again, I’d have come last year, instead of going to Ferris St. for school.”

At the end of a nine-week training and conditioning session, which started on Jan. 18, the CMU staff hopes for Hendricks to be at 245 pounds on his 6-foot-4 frame.

“I am currently 235, so I’ve got to work on that,” said Hendricks.

The three-year starter in football and basketball at Norway will be a redshirt in 2021 for the Chippewas and will get to attend all CMU home football games this coming fall.

NCAA spring football, which are annual organized activities, will be after the current nine weeks of training ends; which will be in mid to late March.

Former St. Ignace standout Gage Kreski will use a fifth year eligibility due to NCAA rules from COVID-19 and remain at CMU. The starting defensive back has already chatted with Hendricks and the other younger players with ties to the U.P.

Keagan Monroe of Menominee, who was also a 2019-20 All-U.P. football and basketball player is a wide receiver on the CMU roster. Braydon Doyle of Bayport (Wis.) High School, whose dad is 1990 Norway graduate Tom Doyle, is also on the Chippewas roster as an offensive lineman.

Hendricks noted it’s nice to have those three guys there at CMU.

“Doyle is a big guy. Wow,” Hendricks said.

CMU is a member of the Mid-American Conference, has four non-conference games on the 2021 schedule, besides a full slate of MAC games, which are yet to be announced.

The Chippewas travel to Southeast Conference foes Missouri on Sept. 4 and 2019 NCAA National Champion Louisiana State on Sept. 18. CMU will host Robert Morris on Sept. 11 and Florida International on Sept. 25.

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