Five-star running back Derrick Henry has made his verbal commitment to play football for the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Henry made his choice to commit to Alabama live on ESPNU today just before 3:30 p.m. EDT.
This is big news for Alabama, as its No. 6-ranked class, according to Rivals just got much stronger. The Tide's depth chart is going to get a whole lot deeper as well, and Henry is talented enough to make a big impact once he's able to see time on the field.
Yesterday, I presented an in depth breakdown of Henry's skills on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. At 6'3'', 240 pounds, he's got the size and athleticism to play just about any position on the football field.
On offense he's undoubtedly going to be a running back, but he does take plenty of snaps as the option-read quarterback for Yulee. He can also line up as an outside linebacker on defense and use his speed to get after the quarterback. He runs a 4.54 40, according to 247Sports.
His skill set as a runner is what will make him great at the college level though. He's a big, physical runner with breakaway speed, fantastic field vision and shifty, quick feet. He's hard to take down and is a very effective juker, but he still manages to be a north and south runner.
As a young running back coming into a stacked program like Alabama though, Henry is going to have to make his name by doing the little things. With current freshman like T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake in front of him, he'll have to earn playing time by making the less glamorous football plays on special teams—with his size and speed he can be a real force there—or even as a blocker.
Alabama likes to use H-backs as blockers, and putting Henry there wouldn't be a half bad way for Nick Saban to get him involved in the offense early.
In this picture below, you can see Henry sprinting out from his running back position to make the block on the edge for his receiver.
The fact that he can get to where he is once the receiver catches the ball is incredible and it really goes to show you how fast he is. Notice also how his eyes are downfield on his block and his angle is correct.
As far as his block goes, it is almost perfect. His feet are wide, and even though he delivers a big hit, he also brought his hands with him, which is a huge sticking point in high school.
The one thing I would talk to him about as a coach would be keeping his head up when he blocks, but other than that, he executed this play perfectly.
It's the little things that gain young backs respect. Henry may be able to give you impressive highlights, but it's plays like this last one that coaches and teammates look at and appreciate the most.
Henry will be a great player for Alabama, but he's going to have to wait his turn like the great backs before him. Right now Eddie Lacy, T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake will get most of the carries, but knowing Saban, he'll get Henry as many meaningful carries as possible.
Like I said though, he's going to have to make his name by doing the small things. He'll need to show a drive to be on special teams and make plays, and he'll have to give 100 percent during every practice.
He's going to need to push himself, because he's no longer going to be the big star.
Henry's going to be part of a very well-oiled machine, which means he'll have to pay his dues and play his role. Things like hustle, focus, attention to detail and constant work ethic as far as the weight room and film study are concerned will determine how good Henry can be at Alabama.
He has all the intangibles that give him a chance to be one of the greats, and he's in the perfect situation to learn and get even better at Alabama
I have no doubt that you'll be hearing about Derrick Henry on Saturday's much sooner rather than later.