Alabama running back Derrick Henry has rode the momentum of a breakout performance in the Sugar Bowl, and appears (sorry, coach Saban) poised to be the next star running back for the Tide.
Glen Coffee, Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon came before him (Yeldon will be a junior this fall). He lept ahead of Kenyan Drake on Alabama’s depth chart heading into the Sugar Bowl, and staked his claim to the spot behind Yeldon with 100 yards on eight carries with a touchdown against Oklahoma.
This spring, Henry’s held off Drake to take most of the No. 2 reps behind Yeldon. Though as Andrew Gribble writes for AL.com, he’s done more than just hold off Drake — he’s asserted himself in Alabama’s offense.
“Derrick Henry has had a fabulous spring,” said Saban, who carefully doles out praise of that magnitude. “He picked up right where he left off at bowl practice last year. He works really hard. He runs really hard. He plays with a lot of toughness. He gets it. Very conscientious guy.
“He sets a great example. Physical in the way he plays. Very conscientious and pays attention to detail.”
There’s a lot of good stuff in Gribble’s story on Henry’s adjustment period in college, as well as a pretty great quote from the running back on the Sugar Bowl. Give it a read and get acquainted with this guy, since you’ll probably see his name quite a bit this coming fall.