The Heisman finalists were announced Monday night after a multitude of conference games were played along with the determination of the college playoffs. Alabama’s Derrick Henry, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey were voted as the three players that will head to New York City Saturday night.
It’s time to breakdown the players individually, and see why they have been chosen as Heisman finalists.
This is the second part of the three-part series, covering Alabama’s star running back, Derrick Henry.
Derrick Henry, Junior, Alabama:
339 carries, 1,989 rushing yards, 23 rushing touchdowns.
Derrick Henry is a beast. His 6’3” 243 pound frame makes defenses nervous when they try to stop him on Saturdays. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a legitimate team able to step up to that challenge.
Henry has rushed for at least one touchdown in every single game. None of the other running back candidates that were involved in the Heisman voting conquered that feat. Henry has also rushed for over 100 yards in nine games and over 200 yards in four contests.
Alabama faced Louisiana Monroe and Charles Southern and the games got out of hand quickly and Alabama pulled Henry early. He rushed for less than 100 yards in those games but certainly would have if they kept him in. The other two games that Henry didn’t rush for 100 yards were against Middle Tennessee and Arkansas, in which he rushed for 95 and 96 yards.
This just shows how competitive Henry has been during every game. He either has or was very close to rushing for 100 yards in every game. That’s a pretty significant accomplishment. But what’s been even better is that he has rushed for over 100 yards in every game that was competitive.
The Alabama junior had three games against bad teams in which he carried the ball less than 20 times. Alabama also destroyed these teams and didn’t need or want the junior to be injured or used for unnecessary reasons.
The most impressive thing about Henry is that he has faced eight top-50 rush defenses in 13 games and has dominated every game. His yards per carry won’t demonstrate his true dominance due to the large amount of carries he gets but Henry has rushed for over 100 yards in 7 games against top-50 rush defenses and was only 5 yards short of his eighth.
During the eight games where Henry faced the top-50 rush defenses, he rushed for 1,152 yards and 15 touchdowns. That’s 144 yards and close to two rushing touchdowns per game.
Henry leads the country in carries, rushing yards, and rushing touchdowns.
Under the big lights Henry has done nothing but perform. Henry trounced the Georgia defense for 148 yards on 26 carries with a rushing touchdown. In the highly anticipated matchup between Alabama and LSU, Henry rushed for 210 yards and three touchdowns as LSU’s star running back Leonard Fournette only accumulated 31 yards on 19 carries. Against Florida’s top-notch rush defense in the SEC championship, Henry ran for 189 yards with a touchdown.
There can be an argument said against Henry due to the amount of carries he has received along with his yards per carry average. He ranks No. 11 in yards per carry with players who have rushed over 200 times.
It’s hard to declare Henry not Heisman worthy because when Mark Ingram won the award for Alabama in 2009 he had less yards than Henry but a similar yards per carry average (Ingram’s 6.1 to Henry’s 5.9). The amount of carries and yards per carry average do not look pretty for Henry but he is relied upon heavily to allow Alabama to be contenders in the college playoffs.
Henry has been a constant force this year in college football. The junior leads the nation in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns while facing the toughest rush defenses out of any running back.
When the games matter most, Alabama gave Henry the ball over and over again. In his last two games against Auburn and Florida, Henry rushed the ball 90 times. That is outrageous. He has led the Alabama Crimson to the college playoffs and with a good chance to be crowned champions.
As of right now, Henry is the deserved favorite to win the trophy this Saturday.