WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — No.21 Wake Forest is set to host No.5 Clemson Saturday. Not only is it a Top 25 matchup between two ACC Atlantic Division teams, but a familiar face will be back in the Triad: Clemson defensive back K.J. Henry.
"Every time I play this team, especially when I go home, there's definitely flashbacks," said Henry.
He may be on the opposing side now, but when he was growing up, Henry was all about Wake Forest.
"My father coached for them," said Henry. "I was 6 years old, 7 years old. I'd be in the family section, yellow wing, cheering like no tomorrow for the Demon Deacons."
He went on to play high school football at West Forsyth for Coach Adrian Snow.
"He made me who I am today," said Henry. "He nurtures everyone there at West Forsyth. He loves his players and is committed to getting everyone to the next level, going to college. He's just been a rock in my life."
Coach Snow said while everyone talks about wins and losses in high school football, relationships are just as important.
"He came in was a long, athletic kid, but let's be honest, he wasn't a very good player, but he had the tools to do it and he did a great job of paying attention and listening and doing what he's supposed to do," said Coach Snow, who is the head coach of West Forsyth High School.
Now in his 5th season at Clemson and a key piece of the Tigers' defense, Henry prepares for his final trip to Wake Forest to take on the defending ACC Atlantic Division champions.
"They are the team to beat," said Henry. "If you want to take it from them, it's going through Winston Salem, that's for everyone on this side of the conference. If we want to get where we want to be at the end of the season, we got to handle business in Winston Salem."
His passion has shifted from the Deacs to the Tigers and while winning is important to him, home will always be home.
"I love this side, but any time I get to go home, I love it," said Henry. "It's one of a kind for sure."