Henry Douglass commits to play football at Southern Methodist University


Henry Douglass has committed to Southern Methodist University (SMU) as a preferred walk-on after playing football at Westminster for over five years. After starting football at the age of seven with Northside Youth Organization (NYO) along with basketball and baseball, Douglass joined the Westminster football team in middle school and attributes his recent success to his early start with the Westminster football program.

“I started Westminster football in seventh grade with all my friends and it was a great experience, which is why I stuck with it,” says Douglass.

He played football all throughout high school and has made a large impact on the football program as a whole. Douglass’s love for football only grew once he started playing at Westminster, where he started discovering his talent as a defensive tackle, guard, tackle, and center. He thrived in the football program, winning a multitude of awards and being named to the 4A All-Region Team in 2022. He carries a lot of fond memories of the football program at Westminster. 

“One of my favorite memories was beating Lovett at home last year, and also the first game of this season was beating Lovett again which was great,” says Douglass. “We get a lot of fan support for those games, with the Battle of Buckhead and everything, and it is always a great environment. Especially when we win.”

Additionally, Douglass was elected as one of four captains for the 2022 season and won the Mac Schreve Memorial Award. Coaches and teammates alike were impacted by his abilities both on and off the field. Douglass showed himself to be incredible on both sides of the ball, as well as a great teammate and leader off the field. 

Not only did Douglass thrive in football, but he joined the Varsity Lacrosse team as a faceoff specialist and has led them to many victories as a member of the team. The varsity lacrosse team is at the end of their current season this May and has entered the state playoffs. He also is a member of the varsity track and field team as a shot putter, following fellow teammates Marshall Benton, Phillips Moore, and Braedon Willis from the football team to the shot put ring. 

While Douglass is a stellar athlete, he has also thrived at Westminster academically, maintaining a 92 GPA throughout all four years of high school and joining the National Honors Society. He highly values the Atlanta community and has consistently served as a dedicated volunteer, and as a result, he has won the Presidential Service Award multiple times. His achievements helped his recruitment process greatly, as he originally applied to SMU as a regular student and received admission to the university without any talk of football. This is because Douglass started his recruitment process much later than most. 

“Most people start their process in middle school or early in high school. I started mine last May, because I wasn’t sure that I could play college football until after my junior season,” said Douglass.

To ensure he could play Division One football, Douglass worked hard over the summer, going to eight different football camps on the weekends on top of working out with the football team at school. He did this all while working as a summer camp counselor at the Westminster sports camp. His hard work paid off, and he started to get offers from different universities. 

  “I was able to get some attention from Division Three schools, which wasn’t my goal, so that’s why I kept working and I ended up taking a preferred walk-on opportunity at SMU, so I could be a part of a big program with great academics,” said Douglass. “Because of the great academics at Westminster, I want to continue that level of high education, which is why I want to go to a school like SMU.” 

Douglass said that the rigorous academics at Westminster have led him to pursue higher-level academics for college, and he attributed a large portion of his decision to go to SMU to his experience at Westminster and his desire to go to a similar school for college. After receiving his admission to SMU and the subsequent offer for the preferred walk-on spot, Douglass accepted the offer and signed with the school. He is taking many steps to ensure his readiness for playing football at a major program like SMU.

“Last summer, and every summer, it’s four lifts a week, 6:30 to 8:30 in the morning and from there I would work my summer job at the Westminster sports camp for a few sessions, and then it is just a matter of making sure I eat a lot so I can keep my weight up,” Douglass said.

Most of his preparation to play at a Division One school comes from the Westminster football program and his continued involvement there. He is still active in the Westminster sports community and weight room with his involvement in varsity lacrosse and track and field.

At SMU, Douglass will play with fellow Westminster alumni Will Benton, the long snapper for the Mustangs. His new teammates are sure to feel his presence on the team as his teammates here at Westminster have. His fellow players have nothing but compliments and praises for Douglass.

“He’s a great leader, he’s always been a good teammate, and he’s always there for us. He really stepped up this year,” says senior Marshall Benton. 

Douglass receives equally high praise from coaches. 

“Henry was the anchor for us up front on both sides of the ball. It is an unbelievable advantage to have a player who can eat two blockers on every play and still make a tackle,” says assistant coach LB Joel. “Henry earned it the hard way— by bringing his best effort in practice, weight training, and Friday nights.” 

The Westminster football program was greatly influenced by a player such as Douglass, as seen by his teammates’ and coaches’ opinions of him. Throughout his career at Westminster, Douglass has been an integral part of many teams and has been a true leader to all of the other players. The Westminster community wishes Douglass luck as he heads into his freshman season playing on the offensive line at SMU.

Edited by Neil Dhingra