Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry is on a historic run (literally) as the team pushes to make their second Super Bowl in franchise history and first in 20 years. The fourth year back has become one of the most dominant rushers in the game despite having a relatively slow start to his career. Credit to the Titans for sticking with Henry, but more credit to him for proving doubters wrong as it wasn’t until mid-year last year that he finally became a full-time starter. As the Titans prepare for the AFC Championship game at Arrowhead against the Chiefs, here are 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Derrick Henry.
1. Derrick Henry is huge
When you watch the Titans play, one can sit in awe as they watch this gigantic guy outrun dudes half his size on 50-plus yard gains. Everyone who watches the game knows he’s big, but just how big is he? #2 clocks in at a whopping 6’3″ inches and 247 lbs. That puts him in the freak of nature category because he runs a sub-4.5 40-yard dash. To put this into a bit more perspective, Henry lead the league in rushing in 2019. The next 4 guys on the list don’t crack 6′ or weigh more than 225 lbs. He’s a big and he’s fast.
2. Record-Setting Run
At the moment, Derrick Henry is on a record-setting run. According to Graham Barfield of NFL.com, Henry has set the all-time NFL record for most rushing yards in an 8-game stretch over his past 8 contests. For those of you keeping score at home that’s 203 carries, 1,273 yards, 6.27 yards per carry and 11 touchdowns. Here’s another fun fact, if you extrapolate that over 16 games, that would destroy Eric Dickerson’s record 2,105 yards in a season.
3. 2016 NFL Draft
The 2016 NFL Draft, the year Henry was picked, was an odd draft for running backs. In the first 2 rounds of the draft there were only two running backs selected. Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot at pick #4 and Derrick Henry at pick #45. Quality not quantity was the theme for running backs in 2016.
4. Biggest Bargain in the NFL
During the 2019 NFL Season the NFL’s leading rusher (that’s Derrick Henry) was the 41st highest paid running back in the league. There are 32 teams in the NFL. Even Henry’s back-up, Dion Lewis, made more money than him in 2019. That’s all about to change….
5. Due for a Pay Day
As a second round pick, the Titans star running back wasn’t going to get the kind of pay day we’re accustomed to seeing in the NFL these days. Playing the 2019 season on the final year of his rookie deal, Henry made $1.7 million. The full details of his contract that he signed in 2016 are 4-years, $5.7 million. He received a $2.1 million signing bonus and $2.8 million in guaranteed money. What perfect timing to be setting records and dominating the NFL – Ezekiel Elliot just received 6-years, $90 million and Henry’s contract will be up after the postseason. You can bet he’ll be right up there with Zeke, Gurley and Bell.
6. 2015 Heisman Trophy
The 2015 Heisman Trophy race was loaded with the best talent the NFL has to offer today. Derrick Henry beat out the Houston Texans’ Deshaun Watson and the Carolina Panthers’ Christian McCaffrey. All three players are superstars in the NFL today. Both McCaffrey and Watson played another year in college and weren’t finalists in the 2016 Heisman race.
7. Alabama Second Choice?
Considered the #1 high school athlete in 2013, Henry was originally set to go to the University of Georgia. The Yulee, Florida raised high school superstar then switched and made the move to the University of Alabama. Not a bad move considering he and the Crimson Tide won the National Championship at the end of the 2015 season.
8. The #1 Running Back in High School… of All-Time
Probably one of the craziest statistics about the Tennessee Titans star running back is that he is the all-time leading rusher in the history of high-school football. He rushed for 12,212 yards in his high school career making him the top guy. That statistic seems pretty incredible, but when you really think about the millions of players who have played college football over the years – it’s ridiculous.
9. Winning Off the Field
Even if Henry and the Titans fall short of their Super Bowl goal in 2020, it’s still going to be a great year for the star running back. He and long-time girlfriend will welcome a baby girl into the world shortly after the playoffs end. Rivas announced the good news the Friday before Henry destroyed the Ravens. One could say he’s on a pretty good run!
As mentioned earlier, Henry is a model of perseverance and has proved many doubters wrong. When he first came into the league his then Coach Mike Mularkey labeled him uncommitted and even lazy when he didn’t show for preseason workouts. What he didn’t know was that Henry was at Alabama working out and finishing his degree – something he promised his grandmother. The star running back stuck with it, fought through time shares with DeMarco Murray and Dion Lewis and now has become one of the most feared running backs in the league.
The Titans may not win a Super Bowl this year, but their success has been carried on the shoulders of their monster running back. At 26 years old he’s become one of the best (and most entertaining) football players in the National Football League. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs have an electrifying offense, but #2’s ability to break tackles will do well to keep him off the field.