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Sanford to UCF pipeline flowing: Demari and Ja’Cari Henderson and Kameron Moore sign with Knights

Orlando Sentinel logoOrlando Sentinel 12/16/2021 Chris Hays, Orlando Sentinel
Sanford Seminole twins Ja'Cari and Damari Henderson signed with UCF on Wednesday. © Chris Hays/Orlando Sentinel Sanford Seminole twins Ja'Cari and Damari Henderson signed with UCF on Wednesday.

When recruiters came soliciting the services of Sanford Seminole standouts Demari and Ja’Cari Henderson, the twin brothers always made one thing clear.

“We’re a package deal,” Demari Henderson said Wednesday morning. “And it’s not just the two of us, there’s three of us.”

Henderson was referring to the twins’ best friend Kameron Moore. One of the few schools to listen was UCF, and ultimately that’s what helped the Knights land the talented trio from Bokey Town.

The brothers signed with UCF early Wednesday morning and Moore signed at noon in a second ceremony at the school that included running back Donta Whack signing with UMass and defensive end Anthony Dunn with Marshall.

“UCF was keeping it real, 100, the whole time. The rest of the schools, they weren’t keeping it real except for like Miami,” Demari Henderson said. “[Schools] were just going off stars instead of seeing who can really play, so, it is what it is. [UCF] saw us in action. They know what it is.”

The inking of the trio kept alive what has become quite a tradition of UCF recruiting and signing players from Seminole. Kameron Moore’s brother Brandon “Bam” Moore, a cornerback, started the trend by joining Scott Frost’s original signing class in 2016. He was followed in 2017 by receiver Gabriel Davis, now with the Buffalo Bills, and in 2019 by Davis’ brother Jordan Davis, who is now a redshirt sophomore tight end for the Knights.

Demari Henderson, Kameron Moore and Ja'Cari Henderson all signed with UCF on Wednesday. © Chris Hays/Orlando Sentinel Demari Henderson, Kameron Moore and Ja'Cari Henderson all signed with UCF on Wednesday.

The Hendersons and Moore give the Knights six Seminole signees in six recruiting classes.

“We’re going to even try to keep it going after us, too,” Moore said. “We’re going to try to get some of these recruits out of our high school and some from around the Central Florida area. It’s great. We’re trying to build something for the younger generation.”

The twins were glad to finally have this day come and get the paperwork signed.

“It’s like a big weight off our shoulders. Now we can just go about doing our thing,” Ja’Cari Henderson said.

Ja’Cari (6-foot, 160 pounds) is penciled in to start off playing cornerback for the Knights, while Demari (6-foot, 160) is a safety. The duo was impressive as seniors and took over the top of the Sentinel’s final 2022 Central Florida Super60 prospects list, tied at No. 1. Moore, a 6-2, 205-pound linebacker, is No. 4.

During their four seasons of high school football, they lost only six games, winning 46, including the coveted state title last year.

The talented brothers, as well as Moore, will not enroll early at UCF. The plan is for the trio to play basketball their senior year so they can have the opportunity to win one more ring. They were part of Seminole’s 2020 Class 8A state football championship, and now they’d like to add a basketball title.

“You only get one high school experience,” Demari Henderson said. “We might as well live it up while we can, because when you’re out of high school and you go to college, you might look back and say, dang, I wish I had done this or that.”

“You can’t come back to high school,” Ja’Cari Henderson added. “So you can do anything that you want to do now.”

After this season, however, that will be it for competitive basketball for the three players. They will be all in with football from that point.

“It’s just a big relief. I always knew we had it in us to sign one day and it’s just a great feeling, a great day,” Moore said. “It means a lot for us. We know what we can do on the field and we bond great off the field too. We’ve been brothers since we were like 3 years old.”

Kameron in the second Moore to sign since the death of their father and former Seminole assistant coach Ron Moore, who was killed by gun violence in 2015.

“He’s always there with me. I think about him every morning when I get up but I don’t try to show it. I stay strong, keep my head high and always try to have a good spirit when people see me,” Moore said. “I never want people to see me down.”

Kameron Moore always said he was going to be like his father who had a short stint in the NFL as a defensive tackle. He was drafted by the Green Bay Packers and played one season with the Atlanta Falcons in 2001 before injuries took a toll.

Kameron is a football player, like his father, but he’s not quite the defensive tackle size these days.

“I played D-line a little bit when I was in Pop Warner, but then I just kind of grew out of like the fat body,” he laughed. “So I had to move to linebacker.”

There were plenty of stories to be told Wednesday about various moments during the threesome’s younger years. When they were about 6- or 7-years-old, the youngsters started working as ball boys at every Seminole home football game and they were mainstays on the game-night sidelines until they became varsity players as freshmen in 2018.

Ja’Cari shared a funny story about himself.

“I think were playing at Winter Springs one time and we were the ball boys, so I had to set the ball behind the goalpost,” Ja’Cari said. “We were just playing around back there and I got caught in a soccer net. They asked me for the ball and I was stuck in the soccer net and so Kaylan [Wiggins] had to come get me out of the soccer net and give the ball to the referee.”

The friends have always loved hitting the opposition. Moore hit an Apopka Pop Warner player a little too hard once.

“We were all on punt team and I was the long snapper and they were the two gunners,” Moore said. “So we were all running downfield and they could have made the tackle before me, but they saw me running down the middle so they let me hit the dud and I knocked the dude’s mouthpiece out.

“But when I got up, I didn’t really know where I was at. I was like seeing stars or something and I had a big red mark on my forehead, but I was straight.”

Former Seminole head coach Kerry Wiggins Sr. remembers plenty of stories, but couldn’t pinpoint one in particular. He just remembered that since the kids were old enough, they were shagging balls on the sidelines.

“It’s an awesome feeling. You look at them just like they’re your own kids,” Wiggins said of the three signing. “All three of those boys’ fathers and I were coaching them when they were little.

“There are all kind of stories. We can talk about them from the field, to the house, to the West side Boys and Girls Club ...,” Wiggins Sr. said. “I just know that those guys always said, when they saw us win the first state championship in 2008, that they were going to get one too. ... Now they’re going to go down as, during their time at Seminole High School, as one of the most winning programs ever.”

Kameron Moore’s mother Kellie Moore also has plenty of memories, like the language brought home from practices by Kam.

“I told Ron, ‘You’re going to have to stop taking him to practice because he’s learning too many curse words,” Kellie Mooe said. “Those were some of the first words he said that we could understand were all curse words.

“I’m grateful and thankful,” Kellie Moore continued. “Now I get to watch the three of them together right here at UCF.”

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