Ellis Henderson’s return to full strength couldn’t have come at a better time for the Montana football team.
After a prolonged illness sidelined the 6-foot, 195-pound receiver for most of the 2014 season, Henderson caught seven passes for a game-high 133 yards and a touchdown during the Grizzlies’ season opening home victory against North Dakota State.
Henderson’s steady play was a key reason why first-year starting quarterback Brady Gustafson threw for 434 yards in his debut against the-then No. 1-ranked Bison.
In 2013, Henderson became the 11th receiver in Montana history to surpass the 1,000-yard mark in a single season and was awarded the Terry Dillon Award as the team’s most outstanding skill player.
Look for Cal Poly senior Chris Fletcher to be among the Mustang defenders tasked with slowing the explosive Henderson. A 12-game starter at cornerback a year ago, Fletcher is Cal Poly’s top returning tackler (68) and he broke up a team-best 10 passes.
The Mustangs’ secondary figures to be tested early and often after Montana threw the ball 57 times last week.
Eight receivers caught passes for the Grizzlies, including touchdown receptions from Henderson, Jamaal Jones and Ben Roberts.
Fletcher also is listed as Cal Poly’s starting punt returner, and it will be interesting to see how he holds up physically after a few minor hiccups during fall camp.