Jaylen Henderson got the first start of his career Saturday night.
A former three-star recruit, the Texas A&M quarterback transferred to College Station after two years at Fresno State. With Connor Weigman and Max Johnson both dealing with injuries, Henderson stepped up.
He delivered, leading the Aggies to a 51-10 win over Mississippi State. He finished 11 of 19 for 150 yards. The quarterback showed off his dual-threat ability, too, rushing for 60 yards and another two scores. After starting the season as the third-string, Henderson didn’t disappoint when he had the chance.
“It was a lot of fun man, a blessing,” he told On3 on the phone Wednesday. “Playing in front of 103,000 – the first time I’ve ever played in front of a crowd like that. So, it was definitely fun.”
Less than 24 hours after his first career win as a starter, his head coach was fired. After reports surfaced Sunday morning, Texas A&M made the move official, parting ways with Jimbo Fisher. The Aggies will pay out his full buyout of $77.6 million.
For Henderson, it was a stunning move for him and his teammates. After one of the most dominant wins of A&M’s season, Fisher was pushed out. In his roughly six seasons with the Aggies, the head coach was 45–25.
“We just won by 41 and the next day you find out your head coach is fired,” the quarterback said. That was wild. It caught all of us by surprise. He was a big reason why I’m even at Texas A&M, so I appreciate him for even allowing me to come to a school like this. I wish him nothing but the best in the rest of his life.”
In his first game throwing a pass in two seasons, Henderson led the Aggies to six scores in seven first-half drives. Texas A&M finished the night scoring points on 8 of its 11 drives.
With two games remaining on the schedule, Henderson said his attention has shifted to making the best bowl game. Expected to be the starting quarterback for the foreseeable future for A&M, it’s been a major role change since where he started in August.
“You know, beginning of the season my job was to really inspire and encourage the guys on the team. Just trying to be that motivator for them, trying to help the team with everything I can,” he said. “After practice, I was throwing to guys just in case anything happened, I’d be ready.
“When the moment came, I had to be ready for it. Obviously wish our season could’ve been better, but we can’t control that now. We just got to finish out strong and try and get in the best bowl game we possibly can.”
Jaylen Henderson signs deal with Raging Bull Street Tacos
Jaylen Henderson is also in the process of building out his NIL brand. The quarterback is repped by A&P Agency, which was founded by Stefan Aguilera and Jacob Piasecki to assist Aggies in the NIL Era. The firm has since grown, repping more than 40 Power 5 players.
He’s signed an endorsement deal with Raging Bull Street Tacos, a food truck vendor that is an official partner of Texas A&M athletics. Henderson joked on the phone as a native of California, he’s a big fan of tacos. So scoring a few free tacos is a solid perk of the agreement. Full contract details were not released.
Michael Marks, the owner of Raging Bull, said his favorite part of the deal is working with someone who is new to the space. Plans are in place for Jaylen Henderson to promote the food truck on social media, while also making an appearance.
“We’re, I guess, in a sense of both new to NIL in a way,” Marks said. “It’s one of those where he’s also stepped up due to injuries. We’re kind of new to this partnership. I like also it because he’s excited. He’s not one of those, ‘Oh, it’s another one of my deals. It’s fine. You know, it’s whatever.’ Man, he’s super stoked and excited. We’re stoked to see where this partnership goes.”