HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral)  — McAllen-native Gunnar Henderson looks to put his name in the history books as No. 3 TCU faces No. 1 Georgia in the NCAA National Championship.

The senior wide receiver was a 2018 graduate from McAllen High School. Henderson was also a decorated football star in the Rio Grande Valley.

He was an all-district wide receiver in his junior and senior years. In both campaigns, he was voted offensive most valuable player. On top of that, he was a three-time all-district return specialist.

Henderson finished his senior season with 40 receptions, 701 yards, and 10 touchdowns receiving, not to mention his 475 yards and six touchdowns rushing. 

Henderson will never forget his time at McAllen High School. 

“I grew up five minutes from McHi,” said Henderson. “I grew up going to those games. I always dreamed of playing for McHi. That’s where I developed, and I can’t thank that school enough.”

His high school resumé landed him the opportunity to play at the next level. Henderson went on to play at Incarnate Word from 2018-19 before he transferred to Texas A&M. 

Unsure if he wanted to continue his football career, Henderson quickly realized how much he missed the game of football. He later tried out for the Aggies and made the team, but the pandemic began right after. 

After one redshirt season with Texas A&M, Henderson transferred to TCU.

“I just wanted a true opportunity to get a chance at earning a scholarship,” said Henderson. “I wanted the chance to get on the field and really contribute to the team, and I felt like TCU was going to give me my best opportunity. ”

His first year with the Horned Frogs consisted mostly of special teams work. However, Head Coach Gary Patterson left the program, and Sonny Dykes took over the head coaching role.

On the third day of spring practice, Henderson was put on scholarship, and he has not looked back since. 

“I’ve been able to contribute to the team a lot this year on offense and special teams,” said Henderson. “I’m just really enjoying this ride that not many people are given the opportunity to be on.”

Henderson’s biggest game as a Horned Frog came against in-state rival Baylor. He finished the game with 3 receptions for 57 yards and 1 TD. TCU won that game, thanks to a last-second field goal.

“I was able to score in that game in an important situation where we needed to score,” said Henderson. “That game was, all in all, my favorite game just because of how we finished, and then personally, I was able to contribute when it really mattered.”

Henderson and TCU now prepare for the Georgia Bulldogs in the National Championship game on Jan. 9. It is the first time in program history competing for a national championship.

Henderson and the whole team know just how special this season has become. 

“This team will forever be remembered by everyone in Fort Worth and the state of Texas, really,” said Henderson. “I think it’s put a lot of eyes on the University, on the city of Fort Worth.”

Kickoff from SoFi Stadium, in Los Angeles, is set for 6:30 p.m.