Chris Hatcher took a deep breath, smiled and confirmed the mounting speculation: Antonio Henton is officially an Eagle.
The former Ohio State quarterback enrolled at Georgia Southern on Monday and will begin working out with the team Tuesday.
“He was looking for a place to go, and what better place to come to than Georgia Southern,” Hatcher said.
Henton, the 2005 Georgia Offensive Player of the Year, brings automatic intrigue to GSU’s quarterback race where the Eagles are looking to replace Walter Payton award winner Jayson Foster. Hatcher said Henton will start at the bottom the depth chart and have to beat out redshirt freshman Lee Chapple, who won the job during spring practice, and second-stringer Kyle Collins. Billy Lowe is questionable for the season.
Henton, a 6-foot-2, 232-pound Fort Valley native, rejoins Eagle offensive coordinator Rance Gillespie, who was Henton’s high school coach at Peach County.
As a senior, Henton helped his team to the Class AAA state title, the first in Peach County’s history. He threw for 2,117 yards and 30 touchdowns his senior year and was touted as one of the best multi-threat quarterback prospects in the country coming out of high school.
Henton redshirted the 2006 season at Ohio State and saw limited action in four games last year. He was 3-of-6 passing for 57 yards and a touchdown and had nine rushing attempts for 41 yards.
He has three seasons of eligibility remaining and is eligible to play for Georgia Southern. Henton was unavailable for comment Monday.
He had been battling redshirt freshman Joe Bauserman for the No. 1 backup spot behind senior starter Todd Boeckman. Incoming freshman Terrelle Pryor is also expected to be in the running for the top backup spot.
Henton sat out much of last year while under a legal cloud before pleading guilty to a minor misdemeanor count of loitering for prostitution.
Ohio State backup quarterback Robbie Schoenhoft announced in January that he was transferring to the University of Delaware. The redshirt junior was the top substitute for Boeckman all last season but was moved to tight end for the BCS title game.
Georgia Southern players report for fall camp July 30, and the Eagles open the season Aug. 30 at Georgia.