- Played at South Panola High School in Batesville, Mississippi
- Played with a chip on his shoulder in high school because he was told he was too small and didn’t deserve to be one of the Clarion Ledger’s ‘Dandy Dozen‘
- The Clarion-Ledger chooses 12 athletes based on high school accomplishments and consultations with coaches and football minds around Mississippi.
- Clinched the state title for South Panola High School his junior year on a 10-yard touchdown in overtime
- Had offers from Middle Tennessee, Southern Miss, Southeast Missouri, and Georgia State
- Wants to “make people regret” not offering him
- Served as a coach/instructor to 120 kids at the Pop Warner Skills Clinic in Atlanta during the Super Bowl
- Training with Michael Johnson Performance in Mckinney, Texas
- High school
- Reportedly ran a 4.3 forty yard dash coming out of high school
- Three-star recruit
- Won a state title his senior season
- Suffered a “tweak” versus Missouri in their eighth game of the year, did not finish the game
- 38 career games
- Led the nation in all-purpose yards, touchdowns, and rushing touchdowns (2018)
- 4,302 All-purpose yards is second most in school history
- The second-leading rusher in school history with 3,082 yards
- Third in school history with 31 rushing touchdowns
- Forty-four total touchdowns is second in school history
- High School
- 2014 Mississippi Gatorade Football Player of the Year
- First-team All American
- Doak Walker semifinalist (Awarded to the top running back in College football)
- Walter Camp semifinalist (Awarded to the player of the year)
- Tenth in Heisman Trophy voting
- Georgia St.
- UCF 2x (AAC championship game)
- Year – Junior
- Height – 5’9″
- Weight – 200 pounds
- Carries the ball high and tight; fumbled only four times in 494 attempts.
- Can come in and be effective with few touches; only has 431 rushes over the course of his career.
- Home run ability with the deadly combination of speed and burst
- Confidence in his speed to beat unblocked defenders
- Eats up passive defenders, especially in space
- Can get lost behind his offensive line, then accelerate out of the pack, which throws a wrench in defenders’ leverage on the ball.
- Flashed a ‘euro step’ or change in stride behind the line of scrimmage to buy some time for pulling linemen
- Has the burst to make defenders miss inside the box, but the speed to win along the perimeter. Can make house-calls in both areas.
- Speed to take the edge of the box at full speed; never drops down a gear, making it very difficult for linebackers or safeties to leverage him
- Gets to the safety level in a hurry, often catching them off-guard, forcing a last-ditch effort tackle
- Eliminates angles defenders have by up- or down-shifting, so defenders can’t ‘square him up.’ Leads to a lot of weak arm tackles.
- Above average contact balance
- Sudden, short explosive cuts and dekes in tight areas forced 53 broken tackles, a 24.8% broken tackle percentage, and 1,278 yards after contact, which was number one in the country.
- Ability to get through the smallest creases
- ‘Speed cutter,’ makes his cuts in upper gears, so they may not cover a lot of ground, but they are sudden and he is still able to outrun opponents
- Can slip tackles by rotating upper body, which allows him to accelerate quickly or remain at top speed.
- While near top speed, he manipulates his stride to have near hip and leg striding through arm tackles — stride along with momentum breaks tackle
- Courageous; spins and cuts back against the grain toward the middle of the field
- Willing to drop shoulder to break tackles, and it’s highly effective when at full speed
- Vision is methodical; maps out his ‘best line’ to the end zone then eliminates stimuli as he encounters them level by level
- Vision maximized on pin-and-pull sweeps or outside zone concepts from a shotgun, pistol, or direct snap formations. Henderson’s speed works horizontally, stresses run fits and athletic ability of opponents.
- Overall skill set fits schemes that utilize angle blocks more than power blocking
- Patience is also very good on these concepts. Waits for the “sea to part” then hits it at full speed. Most of his runs were outside runs that bent back slightly inside.
- Supreme understanding of the angles the linemen need to execute the block he needs for the run to be successful.
- Willing blocker for his teammates when in two-running back formations
- Hunted out safeties, approached blocks with poise
- Slides across the formation to pick up blitzer from second level
- Passing game
- Tough cover for linebackers and safeties due to speed. Continuously screws with angles and makes the defender continuously adjust.
- Marginal size for the position
- Can he be an every-down back?
- Carried it 214 times in 2018, backup Patrick Taylor Jr. carried it 208 times, and even Tony Pollard pitched in 78 attempts.
- Flexibility appears lacking. ‘Corners’ more often than actually cuts. Plays somewhat upright, and you see limited ankle flexion on sharp cuts.
- Decision making and reads are cleaner on zone and hybrid zone runs rather than gap schemes
- Inconsistent ball-carrying skills. Predominantly carried the ball in his left hand, regardless of the direction of the run.
- Rarely switched the ball into proper hand mid-run
- Even switched into incorrect hand unnecessarily
- Would like to see off-hand used more to create distance from tacklers
- Rarely used a stiff arm, but when attempted, the strike point was never consistent and didn’t make much of a difference
- Rarely broke tackles due to size, physicality, or strength
- Breaks tackles due to speed, ability to outpace defenders’ leverage
- Not much creativity to his running style
- Semi-dependent on blocking
- Too often on film, Henderson not on the field on later downs or obvious passing situations
- Little production in the passing game
- As a receiver, out wide or in the slot, Henderson was targeted three times, the least of all running backs on the team. Teammate Tony Pollard led all RBs with 58 targets.
- When aligned out wide, appeared to run routes at subpar pacing
- Doesn’t possess the ideal strength to anchor against pass rushers. The pocket will be compromised if consistently asked to pass block.
Henderson’s evaluation was a fun one. The diminutive running back has very little tread on his tires, having touched the ball a total of 494 times over the course of three seasons, but he made every single one of those touches count. He was able to rack up 44 total touchdowns because he is simply a home run hitter. The deadly combination of speed and burst is really the basis for his entire game. At times, he can get lost behind the offensive line then dart out and take it the distance. His speed on outside zone and pin-and-pull sweeps makes life difficult on linebackers and safeties; not only do they have to worry about maintaining their gap, but they also have to worry about keeping the proper leverage on the speedster. If they overplay the outside run, he rounds off his track and gets north/south. If they underplay his pace, he can get to the perimeter and wheel down the sideline for the touchdown. It’s pretty amazing how often his speed and burst lead to really bad angles by defenders and subsequently a lot of arm tackles. Henderson is able to make explosive shoulder shakes and dekes while near or at top speed because they are not able to ‘square him up.’ Henderson was underutilized as a receiver, but I don’t think that was due to the lack of skills. If given touches on swing passes and screens, Henderson’s overall value will skyrocket.
But there are some questions marks, and those start with his build. He is short and on the lighter side, so at this point I don’t believe he is an every-down back. His reads as a runner are much cleaner on outside zone and pin-and-pull sweeps because he gets bogged down at or near the line of scrimmage waiting on pullers. And with the lack of creativity as a runner or upper tier strength or physicality of a prototypical back, he will struggle to break tackles of defensive linemen, especially if he doesn’t improve his off-hand usage. How good of a route runner or receiver Henderson is is also a question mark because he wasn’t asked to do it much. That is something that scouts will want to see from him prior to the draft. The same can be said about his pass protection skills. When he was in on passing situations and asked to block, he showed very little push-back to rushers due to play strength.
Overall, I believe Henderson is a late second-round pick, and he is going to be his team’s sparkplug — a guy that can come in on certain play calls and situations like zone runs, pitches, sweeps, and screens. These are situations where they are looking for chunk plays or some jump from the running back position. At Memphis, he excelled in zone and hybrid zone runs, and that will be his best fit at the NFL level. With his athleticism and home-run ability, he is going to be a great change of pace back for an offense.