Henry's high-school exploits are the stuff of legend: his high-school
team (Yulee) struggled to get other schools in or around its class
to schedule games against it because those schools were hesitant
to go against Henry. Thus, Yulee played against a number of Florida
high-school powerhouses during Henry's high-school career. (Give
article a read for some perspective.) It didn't make a difference;
he set the Florida high-school single-game rushing record with a
510-yard performance and ran for at least 2,465 yards in each of
his four seasons. He set another state mark with 4,261 rushing yards
in his senior year and finished his career with 12,124, which is
the national record for career rushing yards.
Henry played a bit role behind T.J. Yeldon and the most versatile
Kenyan Drake as a freshman in 2013, finishing with a meager 382
yards (but on an impressive 10.6 yards per carry). The former
five-star recruit was able to forge much more of an equal partnership
in the Crimson Tide backfield during his sophomore season, however,
taking advantage of a late-season injury to Yeldon while edging
him for the team lead in rushing, but his emergence was overshadowed
somewhat by stud receiver Amari Cooper, who ended the 2014 season
with an SEC-record 124 catches. Yeldon and Cooper each declared
for the draft following Alabama's loss to Ohio State in the College
Football Playoff semifinals, setting the stage for Henry to become
the focal point for the Crimson Tide in 2015. The results: a school-record
395 carries for a conference- and school-record 2,219 yards and
a conference- and school-record 28 touchdowns. In addition to
claiming just about every single-season honor a college running
back can collect - including the 2015 Heisman Trophy - Henry joined
Herschel Walker and Bo Jackson as the only backs in SEC history
to have four 200-yard rushing games in a season. He also finished
his collegiate career with at least one touchdown in 20 straight
contests, yet another conference record.
Best Scheme Fit: One-cut zone-blocking
scheme that allows for a healthy dose of counters and inside-the-tackle
One-cut downhill runner with a highly impressive blend of
size and power; finishes runs and is a nightmare to tackle once
he squares his shoulders and gets into the open field (averaged
102.8 yards per game after contact in 2015).
An absolute specimen of a man and proven workhorse (395 carries
and 406 touches overall in 2015) that will be a proficient goal-line/short-yardage/four-minute
back from Day 1;showed impressive stamina by following up a
school-record 46-carry effort with 44 carries the following
week in the SEC Championship.
Rare speed for a back of his size; can destroy pursuit angles
in the open field and is a breakaway threat once he is able
to build up steam.
Possesses more lateral agility that he is given credit for;
does a good job of adjusting the tempo of his runs and has the
ability to subtly change direction in the open field without
losing much speed.
Patient in setting up blocks and combines aggressive (angry)
running style with quick decision-making; doesn't second-guess
where the hole is.
Despite a slight increase in fumbles in his final season (four
fumbles, three lost), he values the ball - career fumble percentage
Can make a move to escape unblocked defender, but is far less
effective if he doesn't get a chance to turn his shoulders parallel
to the line of scrimmage (like most big backs).
Was not used extensively in the passing game (11 catches in
2015 and 17 over his three-year career), generally only on screens.
Narrow base allows him to get tripped up occasionally on arm
tackles in the hole.
Willing and able to go toe-to-toe with a defensive lineman
against interior pressure, but a bit slow to recognize the free
defender against outside pressure (seems to struggle more with
Unusual size (6-3) makes it difficult for him to get lower
than his defenders and gives opponents a large strike zone,
potentially making it difficult for him to stay healthy consistently
in the NFL.
While the jury is still out when it comes to how well Alabama
running backs transition to the pros, it is a safe assumption
that Henry is cut from a slightly different cloth than the Crimson
Tide rushers that have joined the NFL lately (Mark
Richardson, etc.) Taken one step further, Henry isn't cut
from the same cloth of any college back to enter the NFL in at
least 10 years, if not 20 or more. For some perspective, consider
the 2015 Heisman Trophy winner, who is the fourth-heaviest running
back prospect during the documented history of the NFL Combine
(1999-2016) ran a faster 40 time than last year's draft darling
Abdullah (4.54 vs. 4.6) and matched the former Nebraska standout
with a 10' 10" effort on the broad jump - one of the events use
to judge lower-body explosion - despite weighing 42 more pounds.
Much like his fellow recent (and aforementioned) Alabama alums,
Henry has benefited from running regularly through huge alleys
for a defensive-minded head coach that loves to pound the ball.
Henry strikes me as a running back that would have thrived in
the league until about 5-10 years ago, but there aren't a lot
of teams in the league anymore that have the devotion to line
play and commitment to the running game that will be necessary
for him to flourish. For those reasons alone, the gap between
his ceiling and floor is as wide as it is for any prospect at
his position in the draft. Line play around the league is as bad
as I can ever remember and the NFL's emphasis on throwing the
ball makes him something of a dinosaur; it is up to a team that
I just described (the Dallas Cowboys and possibly Carolina Panthers
immediately come to mind) to make owning a big back fashionable
again. Henry isn't the type of back that will make a bad run-blocking
line look average, but I do think he is the kind of runner that
can take a good or great run-blocking line and take that running
game to the next level. He will create his own yards, but he needs
his front five to keep him clean in the backfield as much as any
back in the draft. In short, fit will be the most important variable
for Henry as he takes the next step in his football career.
Doug Orth has written for FF
Today since 2006 and been featured in USA Today’s Fantasy
Football Preview magazine since 2010. He hosted USA Today’s
hour-long, pre-kickoff fantasy football internet chat every Sunday
in 2012-13 and appears as a guest analyst on a number of national
sports radio shows, including Sirius XM’s “Fantasy Drive”.
Doug is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.