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Heisman Finalist Derrick Henry: Assessing his Candidacy

Alabama’s Derrick Henry looks to join Mark Ingram as the second Crimson Tide running back to win the Heisman Trophy in the last six years.

Ingram is the lone back to win the prestigious award in the last fifteen years, considering Reggie Bush’s 2005 Heisman was vacated.

Henry is considered by many to be the 2015 favorite, despite the fact that the award has been dominated by quarterbacks in recent memory.

The Crimson Tide have had a dominating stretch of “bull in a china shop” runners, but are Henry’s accomplishments enough to get his hands on college football’s most famous trophy, or will he instead get the proverbial stiff-arm in favor of another quarterback (in this case, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson)?

To see how plausible, let’s dive deeper into Henry’s season, ranging from team performance, to season stats and individual performance against key opponents.

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Derrick Henry leads the Alabama rushing attack

Alabama Team Performance

Anyone that thinks team performance doesn’t matter is just kidding themselves – just look at past winners.

The Crimson Tide continue to be one of the elite teams in college football, heading to another College Football Playoff, winning the SEC and managing a 12-1 season.

‘Bama’s only loss came on September 19th, a 43-37 defeat at the hands of Ole Miss, a team that was ranked 15th in the country at the time.  The Rebels finished the year 9-3.

Following the setback, Alabama rolled to ten straight victories, including an impressive 30-16 win over LSU in which it completely shutdown Leonard Fournette.

Eight of the ten wins were by two touchdowns or more, making for a Heisman-worthy team performance and a clear assist to Henry’s candidacy.

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Will Alabama RB Derrick Henry hoist the Heisman Trophy this year?

Derrick Henry: 2015 Season Overview

In the early months, Leonard Fournette was the headline back in the SEC, only to eventually make way for the monstrous Henry, who bowled over opponents week after week.

Fournette finished the season as the national leader, averaging 158.27 yards per game, and Derrick Henry was second (152.77 ypg).  However, Henry was #1 in the nation in rushing yards, falling 14 yards shy of the 2,000 mark.  Henry also had 23 rushing touchdowns, the most in the country, and four more than a trio that included Ohio State standout Ezekiiel Elliott

Once the College Football Playoff arrives, Henry should easily pass the 2,000-yard mark and is certain to cause headaches for a very solid Michigan State defense.

By season’s end, Derrick Henry was easily the most dominant running back in college football and clearly deserving of the Heisman ceremony invitation.

Derrick Henry: Individual Performances – Highs and Lows

While Derrick Henry managed the most rushing yards and touchdowns in the country, how did he fare in games against elite competition?  Here’s a quick sampling of performances and statistics that stand out more than others:

  • Henry topped the 100-yard mark in 9 of 13 games, with three of the sub-100 games being against lesser opponents (Middle Tennessee, Louisiana Monroe and Charleston Southern), where he likely sat out for significant time
  • The junior RB managed just 95 yards rushing (3.5 ypc) against an Arkansas team that had the second-best run defense in the SEC
  • On the road in the Iron Bowl, Henry ran 46 times for 271 yards against rival Auburn
  • Against an LSU team that was in the CFB Playoff hunt at the time, Henry ran 38 times for 210 yards and 3 touchdowns
  • In a 31-6 victory over Mississippi State, Henry had 22 carries for 204 yards (9.3 ypc)
  • In the loss to Ole Miss, Henry ran for 127 yards (on 23 carries) and had 5 receptions for 39 yards
  • Against Wisconsin’s 4th-ranked run defense, Henry averaged 11.3 ypc

There were clearly no glaring performances that would put a hit on Henry’s Heisman candidacy.

So, does Derrick Henry get your vote for the 2015 Heisman trophy?

Here’s how Henry’s 2015 campaign compares to that of the other two finalists, Christian McCaffrey (Stanford) and Deshaun Watson (Clemson), as well as who should hoist the Heisman hardware at the end of the night.

Strike the pose… and as always, thank you for reading The Wife Hates Sports.

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By | 2017-08-25T17:31:16+00:00 December 12th, 2015|Kevin Paul, NCAA FB, Writers|3 Comments

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  1. […] Alabama RB Derrick Henry […]

  2. […] how the Clemson QB’s performance compares to that of Christian McCaffrey and Derrick Henry, as well as who should hoist that Heisman hardware at the end of the […]

  3. […] how McCaffrey’s season compares to that of Derrick Henry and Deshaun Watson, as well as who should hoist that Heisman hardware at the end of the night. […]

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