5-Star RB Emmanuel Henderson Commits to Alabama over Auburn, Georgia, More

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 13, 2021

Credit: Jason Caldwell, 247Sports

Alabama strengthened its backfield in a big way when it received a commitment from 5-star running back Emmanuel Henderson on Saturday.

According to Hank South of 247Sports, Henderson selected Alabama over several other high-profile programs, including Auburn, Clemson, Georgia and LSU.

Henderson is the No. 2 running back and No. 28 player in 247Sports' composite rankings for 2022. He is also the No. 2 player from the state of Alabama.

The Hartford, Alabama, native was a nightmare for opposing defenses as a sophomore in 2019. He ran for 1,996 yards and 32 touchdowns while catching 23 passes for 342 yards and four scores. He also set a single-game state record when he returned six kicks for 259 yards against Ariton.

Henderson revealed his final 10 programs in October. Not surprisingly given his hometown, SEC programs dominated the list:

emmanuel henderson @emmanuelhende17

Top 10! https://t.co/2x56ASJxnJ

Per South, Henderson recently praised the Alabama program, saying: "It feels like home there. The facilities, the school, it's wonderful there."

247Sports' Charles Power last March compared Henderson to Detroit Lions star Kerryon Johnson, who ran for 1,391 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior at Auburn:

"High-cut, taller running back with a lean build at this point. Should tack on a good bit of mass once he gets in a college program. A truly dominant high school player in a lower classification. Is the best athlete on the field at all times....Is a loose, natural runner in the open field with deadly cut-back. Doesn't have to gear down to change directions...Has additional versatility as a pass catcher at running back, while also seeing time on defense."

Henderson's impressive feats aren't limited to the gridiron.

Ryan Hennessy @RyanHennessyTV

LOOK OUT! Geneva County sophomore Emmanuel Henderson (@emmanuelhende17) takes flight! https://t.co/xv8AIbBHRw

Geneva County plays at the 2A level in Alabama's football pyramid. The 7A level is the highest, so Henderson has excelled against weaker competition. Breaking tackles with his 6'1", 185-pound frame won't be as easy at the next level.

His position in the class speaks for itself, though. His vision and cutback ability will translate when the level of opposition improves, and his experience as a return man adds to the ways Alabama head coach Nick Saban can utilize him.

Assuming he gradually transitions into the offense, Henderson could be a playmaker for the Crimson Tide when 2023 or 2024 rolls around.

Alabama has a penchant for churning out NFL-caliber running backs under Saban, such as Najee Harris, Josh Jacobs, Derrick Henry, Mark Ingram and Kenyan Drake, so it is difficult to argue with Henderson's decision.