Today’s NFL is a more pass-happy brand of football than it has ever been. That said, Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry is walking proof that the ground game is still relevant. The massive bruising back can be seen powering his way through would-be tacklers each and every time he steps on the field. But Henry was busting through tackle attempts long before his NFL career began in 2016. In fact, he was a nightmare for opposing defenders even before his college days at Alabama. Take a gander at the insane Derrick Henry high school highlights and stats below.
Derrick Henry High School Highlights
Derrick Henry High School Stats
Games Played: 48 | Overall Record: 33-12
Carries: 1,397 | Rushing Yards: 12,124 | Rushing Touchdowns: 154
Yards Per Carry: 8.7 | Rushing Yards Per Game: 252.6 | Fumbles Lost: 4
Receiving Stats: 8 receptions, 62 yards
Passing Stats: 2 completions, 52 yards, 2 touchdowns
Other Stats: 1 kickoff return for 96 yards; 5 sacks; 1 blocked punt
Notable Awards: 2013 All-American, Top 25 Big Backs, Recruiting Top 100 Watch List
Although he was no longer one of the biggest players on the field as seen in the Derrick Henry high school highlights video, he was still a force to be reckoned with at the collegiate level. Henry chose to play for Nick Saban at the University of Alabama. While in Tuscaloosa, Henry was part of an uber-talented running back stable. Fellow future pros Alvin Kamara, T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake all overlapped at least one college season with him.
As one might expect, so many mouths to feed resulted in Henry largely spending his first two college seasons honing his craft. After being limited to 35 and 172 carries in each of his first two years respectively, Henry got his chance to be ‘The Guy’ for Alabama in 2015. His junior campaign was truly the highlight of his collegiate career. It was also the springboard to the NFL dominance that fans of the Tennessee Titans enjoy today.
The same combination of bruising power and breakaway speed on display in the Derrick Henry high school highlights served him well at Alabama. The Yulee, Florida, native rushed for a whopping 2,219 yards and 28 touchdowns as a junior in 2015. His efforts helped propel the Crimson Tide to the College Football Playoff National Championship. Henry won the Heisman Trophy Award that season as well. The season-long performance was proof that he was capable of putting up massive numbers when given a lead role, even matched up against the elite defensive talent that resides in the SEC.
The Tennessee Titans drafted Derrick Henry with the 13th pick in Round 2 of the 2016 NFL Draft. While the team’s brass undoubtedly knew they were getting a stud, it’s hard to imagine that even they could’ve envisioned Henry’s NFL career trajectory playing out as it has. In fact, there were grumblings for the better part of his first two professional seasons that he was a bust.
Henry totaled just 490 yards rushing and 5 touchdowns in his rookie season. He followed that up with 744 and another 5 scores in his sophomore campaign. In both seasons, he primarily served as the team’s second back behind DeMarco Murray. While he’s not being the workhorse certainly limited his opportunities for production, those first two NFL seasons were a far cry from the Derrick Henry high school highlights footage.
Derrick Henry Makes High School Highlights an NFL Reality
When he was finally given the chance to start a dozen games in 2018, Henry quickly began to prove his doubters wrong. That campaign marked his first career 1,000-yard rushing season, and he hasn’t looked back since. He saw more carries and upped his yardage count from 1,089 to 1,540 in 2019.
Even after being the Titans’ primary weapon offensively for the entire season, Henry still had plenty left for that year’s NFL Playoffs. He helped Tennessee advance all the way to the AFC Championship Game as a 6-seed Wild Card. In the Divisional Round win over the Baltimore Ravens, Henry even pulled out a jump-pass for a back-breaking touchdown. While many NFL fans lost their minds, the play looks just like the one run in the Derrick Henry high school highlights.
Derrick Henry Joins the 2,000-Yard Club
As if Henry’s 2019 season wasn’t incredible enough, he topped it and then some in 2020. The now 27-year-old back played all 16 games for the Titans, toting the ball 378 times for 2,027 yards. His 5.4 average yards per carry last season marked the best of his five-year NFL career to date. With that yardage total, Henry became just the eighth member of the 2,000-yard rushing club and the first since Adrian Peterson back in 2012. His mark stands as the fifth-most rushing yards ever in a single season. Henry is also the second Titan to rush for 2,000 yards after Chris Johnson also accomplished the feat in 2009.
It’s well-documented that the shelf-life for NFL running backs tends to be shorter than that of any other position. That being said, Derrick Henry appears to be far from done. He works harder than anyone both on the practice field and in the weight room. That obsession with hard work and being the best he can be will continue to serve him well. Barring injury, Henry figures to have at least two or three more great years left in him.
Of course, the Titans would love to add the first Super Bowl in franchise history to all those impressive stats and highlights. There is a whole lot of optimism surrounding the star-studded offense in Nashville this season. But make no mistake about it: The King will still sit front and center. The same massive ball-carrier seen in the high school highlights is far from through with punishing NFL defenders.