Derrick Henry has emerged as one of the NFL’s most dangerous offensive weapons. The running back is a one-man wrecking crew, almost singlehandedly willing the Tennessee Titans to the AFC championship game. This comes after a rather pedestrian regular season from the Titans; they barely squeaked into the playoffs.
Anyone who’s followed Henry’s career closely isn’t shocked by his progression. If you paid attention, you would’ve seen it as far back as high school; Henry was destined for NFL greatness. One look at his stats from that time period proves this.
Derrick Henry’s incredible 2019-2020 NFL season
The Titans weren’t even supposed to make the playoffs during the 2019-20 season. But thanks to Henry (and some luck), they qualified for a wild card spot. For their troubles, the Titans’ prize didn’t seem like one worth winning: a road game against the New England Patriots.
It was no concern for Henry and company, though. He rushed for 182 yards in a shocking upset. With a yardage total that high, it like Henry was about to wake up from his dream season entering a divisional-round matchup against the No. 1 overall seeded Baltimore Ravens.
But Henry — and the Titans — somehow improved on the week prior. He rushed for a whopping 195 yards while the Titans rolled, 28-12. The running back’s playoff performances surprised some, but it shouldn’t. He led the league in both rushing yards and rushing touchdowns this season, with 1,540 yards and 16 scores.
Henry’s brilliant career at the University of Alabama
The Titans selected Henry with the 45th overall pick in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft. The young athlete was coming off a successful career at the University of Alabama that included a national championship. In three seasons there, he put up the following numbers:
- 3,591 rushing yards
- 42 rushing touchdowns
- 17 receptions
- 285 receiving yards
- Three receiving touchdowns
Henry’s best year was his junior year when he rushed for 2,219 yards on 395 carries. Along with guiding the Crimson Tide to the title that season, Henry also earned the Heisman Trophy.
Derrick Henry’s insane high school career
Henry’s pro and college stats are eye-catching, but they can’t hold a candle to his productivity at the high school level. While it’s true that defensive talent and athleticism in high school is no match for college and pro defenses, Henry’s stats are so insane that it was clear from a young age that he was NFL bound.
According to MaxPreps.com, the now-26-year-old played for Yulee High School in Yulee, Florida. The Sunshine State is a hotbed of amateur football talent, and Henry played at the varsity level all four years of his high school career, which lasted from 2009-13. Henry put up impressive numbers all four years of high school:
- Freshman: 2,465 yards, 26 touchdowns
- Sophomore: 2,788 yards, 38 touchdowns
- Junior: 2,610 yards, 34 touchdowns
- 4,261 yards, 55 touchdowns
Those numbers aren’t typos. For anyone out of a calculator’s reach, these add up to 12,124 rushing yards and 153 touchdowns in four seasons.
Anyone who saw Henry play in high school had to know he was destined for great things. Now that he’s playing in the NFL at such a high level, the sky is the limit for the young running back.
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