Derrick Henry: Breaking Down Potential Roles for 5-Star Alabama Recruit

Mike MoraitisAnalyst IFebruary 7, 2013

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Derrick Henry was the one of the most coveted recruits in Alabama's 2013 class, and the 5-star athlete (per 247Sports) has the skills to play on either side of the ball for head coach Nick Saban.

The overwhelming majority of people believe that Henry will be a running back with Alabama, but he could end up at the linebacker position if the Crimson Tide see fit to put him there.

Let's take a closer look at Henry's strengths on both sides of the ball and which position is a better fit for him based on Alabama's needs.


Running Back

Henry was a prolific running back during his high school years, and that's likely where he will play with the Crimson Tide.

He has great size and agility for the position with an ability to run through or around tacklers. Although he does tend to attempt to break runs to the outside too quickly, Henry possesses the type of physicality to make him an effective inside runner.

His sensational speed makes him a threat to break big plays every time the ball is in his hands, and he could prove to be one of the more exciting backs in the college game.

Alabama enjoyed great success from its rushing attack last season. Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon combined for over 2,400 yards and 29 touchdowns on the ground during the 2012-13 campaign. The Crimson Tide are at their best when they can get the rushing attack going. It's a vital component to what they do offensively.

Lacy has already declared for the 2013 NFL draft, so 'Bama will be one short at the position. That makes Henry's presence in the Crimson Tide backfield much more important, which is why he will likely end up there when it's all said and done.



If coach Saban feels he needs some help on the defensive end at the linebacker position, Henry could fill that role.

Henry's offensive abilities will translate well on the defensive end. His great speed and agility will help him chase down some of the faster backs in the college game and will enable him to drop back into pass coverage when needed.

Excellent size and strength will make him an effective tackler and a force to be reckoned with when taken on by blockers. Henry would be a terror on the edge as a result of those same qualities, and he can get to the quarterback in the blink of an eye.

Alabama's defense was the best in the country last season, so this team doesn't need much help on that side of the ball. With a young, talented linebacker corps led by C.J. Mosley, it won't be necessary for Henry to make the switch to defense.



Despite his versatility, it's obvious that Henry stands to help Alabama's offense much more than its defense. The fact that the Crimson Tide will be losing one of their top running backs will force Saban's hand to keep Henry as an offensive player.

That couldn't be a more exciting prospect for the 2013-14 season.