For the first time since returning to this level of football a year ago, Jim Harbaugh has lost a player early to his old level of the sport.
As everyone seems to be doing these days, Twitter was the delivery system for Michigan’s Willie Henry Wednesday night, with the redshirt junior defensive tackle confirming on the social media site that he has decided to forego his remaining eligibility with the Wolverines and put his name into the mix for the April NFL draft. Henry gave a specific mention to former head coach Brady Hoke, who he described as “a great man and mentor,” while also giving a nod to “the praiseworthy staff that is here now whom I had the benefit of sharing my most memorable season.”
“We’ve had a long exciting journey together,” Henry wrote in thanking his “Michigan Coaches, Teammates and awesome Fans.” “For the past few years at the University… all of you have been like a second family to me. I can’t thank [you all] enough for that. We shared many heartbreaks but more often than that amazing times together. It helped to shape the player that I am today.”
A three-star member of UM’s 2012 recruiting class, Henry started six games as a redshirt freshman and was named to the All-Big Ten Freshman Team in 2013. He went on to start 15 games the past two years, including nine in 2015.
Following this past season, he was named honorable mention All-Big Ten.
Prior to Henry’s announcement, tight end Jake Butt, wide receiver Jehu Chesson, cornerback Jourdan Lewis and defensive lineman Chris Wormley had all announced that they would be returning for one more season in Ann Arbor despite being draft-eligible.