COC’s Henderson, Palmer receive All-American honors

College of the Canyons' wide receiver Alonzell Henderson (2) makes the catch against Saddleback College defender Caleb Monestime (18) to set up the touchdown for COC in the first quarter at COC on Saturday, September 07, 2019. Dan Watson/The Signal

College of the Canyons football continues to raise the bar in its standard of excellence with two players being named to the 2019 California Community College Football Coaches Associate All-American Team and four to the All-California Team.

Sophomore wide receiver Alonzell Henderson and sophomore center Jordan Palmer were named to the All-American Team Dec. 19. This marks the second season in a row the Cougars had two or more players named to the All-American list.

“I just want to thank the whole COC coaching staff and my family for all the support they gave me,” Palmer said. “It’s been a great process. I made great connections with my teammates and my coaches.”

Palmer spent the last two years at COC and signed a National Letter of Intent to play at Middle Tennessee State University in the fall. Standing at 6-feet tall is shorter than most linemen, but weighing in at over 300 pounds gave him the advantage he needed to make up for his height and make an impact for the Cougars.

“It’s totally great, to be honest,” he said. “It shows a lot of what I did. I made a name for myself at COC and that’s what my goal was. I’m just going to keep on grinding. I’m not going to stop doing what I’m doing.”

The now All-American center first saw that he made the All-California team on Twitter, but didn’t realize he was named to the All-American Team. Palmer learned of his All-American honors from his parents after they read the article.

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Henderson had a similar situation. He found out from his parents as well in a slightly more comical fashion.

“I didn’t even know actually,” Henderson said. “My mom walked in the kitchen and was like, ‘did you see the All-American?’ I thought she was talking about a TV show.”

Henderson is another proud COC product but didn’t go there straight out of high school. He originally joined the University of Las Vegas Rebels as a preferred walk-on. He returned home and enrolled at COC after the costs of a four-year university became too much.

“I thought I had a better chance coming to JUCO and getting an offer somewhere else and saving money for my parents,” he said. “It was a big risk, but I was willing to take it.”

While at COC, Henderson led the Cougars in receiving, tallying 1,016 yards on 57 catches in the 2019-20 campaign. He caught nine touchdown passes to lead the team. He also rushed for 22 ticks on three carries. 

Henderson is not committed to any school at the moment, but has his eyes on The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. The Golden Eagles have extended him an offer to play at the Division 1 level.

“I’m looking towards Southern Miss., right now,” he said. “That’s kind of where my heart is, now. They’ve made me an offer. I’m trying to keep my options open, but I do have a school at heart”

He is extremely thankful for his achievement and wants to attribute his hard work to his success.

College of the Canyons’ quarterback Armani Edden (7) takes the snap on the goal line from center Jordan Palmer (74) against Saddleback College in the first quarter at COC. Dan Watson/The Signal

“This is a blessing,” Henderson said. “Achieving this through all the stuff that I’ve been through is amazing.”

Both players were named to the All-California Team as well alongside two other Cougar football players; sophomore middle linebacker Charles Ike and sophomore quarterback Armani Edden.

“If you want to work and achieve the All-American I received, COC is the place to do it,” Henderson said. “They have your best interest at heart. The work they put into is you is an amazing trait to have.”

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