Just two weeks ago, Ohio State and running backs coach Tony Alford landed his white whale for 2021 running backs in five-star TreVeyon Henderson.
Henderson is rated as one of the top backs in the country for a reason. He has track speed that stacks up against anyone in the country, natural footwork, exceptional contact balance for, and elite vision.
These traits set him apart from almost any back in the country, so we decided to take a closer look at those aspects of his game.
Most running backs have speed, but Henderson's is truly elite.
With his background as a track runner, Henderson has a very powerful and high knee drive when running in the open field that gives him an extra gear. That extra gear gives him the breakaway speed needed to turn a long run into a home run.
These three plays from Henderson's junior film showcase his burners.
- Play one: The offensive line washes all defenders down to the right and as Henderson sees that he goes right off the tackle. Once he sets his direction he takes off and shows off the speed for an easy breakaway touchdown.
- Play two: With the left tackle and guard pulling to the right Henderson waits for them to engage their blocks before finding his running lane right behind them. As soon as he hits the running lane he uses that high knee drive and bursts past everyone else for another touchdown.
- Play three: Again Henderson allows his blocks to develop before hitting the gap and bouncing it to the sideline. Once in the open field, he turns on his extra gears and easily glides past defenders for a touchdown.
Henderson is a touchdown waiting to happen anywhere on the field.
Henderson's footwork comes from a mixture of quick-twitch feet and a natural feel for the game when running in the ball.
Henderson is a patient runner and allows the game to come to him when he has the ball in his hands. Because of the fast footwork he can then cut, juke, or get around any would-be tackler. With his special footwork and foot speed, Henderson has the rare ability to dance around defenders in a close space or in the open field.
Below are three plays of Henderson's junior highlights that show off his special footwork with the ball.
- Play one: Henderson gets the handoff and presses the hole in the line before using a quick jump cut to break outside where there is green grass. As it normally happens when Henderson hits the open field he turns on his extra gear and goes in for a touchdown.
- Play two: Following the sweep play to the right Henderson reads the defender over pursuing him trying to make the tackle. As soon as he sees this Henderson takes a quick inside step leaving the defender grabbing air while he turns on the jets for another touchdown.
- Play Three: This time he follows his guard up the hole and as he gets into the open field he steps right then cuts left which puts the first defender on the ground. As he takes off someone tries to cut Henderson off but he quickly cuts back inside to the right and scores again while putting a would-be tackler through the spin cycle.
Henderson's quick footwork allows him to make easy cuts on a dime while still maintaining his speed, making him dangerous any time he touches the ball.
Henderson has exceptional balance, leading to a rare ability to maintain his balance through contact and tackles while running the ball. As a result, he gets plenty of yards after contact.
Here are three plays from his junior film that show off his ability to keep his balance through contact.
- Play one: Henderson follows the play design to the left but when his lane disappears he decides to cut back to the right. With one defender hitting him high and one going one Henderson powers through both tackles and maintains his balance while turning down the sideline
- Play two: This time as a kick returner Henderson's blocking unit fails to pick up a handful of guys. While he being wrapped up Henderson slips a bit but he puts his hand in the ground and finds his balance before breaking it outside and down the sideline for a special teams touchdown.
- Play three: He once again presses the line before cutting to his right and running through an arm tackle. He then cuts around another defender before dropping his shoulder on not one but two defenders on his way to the endzone.
Henderson is not easy to bring down and will make defenders pay for imperfect technique.
Vision is arguably the most important trait for a running back, and Henderson has elite vision.
Henderson is a patient and intelligent runner who understands blocking schemes, can anticipate holes, and willingly follows his blockers.
Of Henderson's junior highlight film, three plays in particular highlight his special running vision.
- Play one: His right tackle and guard pull to the left which means that technically the play show be going to the left but Henderson sees a better lane. He cuts right and gets a few yards downfield before finding another crease down the left sideline on his way to a long touchdown.
- Play two: Henderson presses left which is where the play is designed to go but he cuts back to the cut. Once in the open field, he cuts all the way to the left sideline which sets up three blocks and takes three defenders out of the play. He cuts past another defender and goes the distance for yet another long touchdown run.
- Play three: Running a sweep to the left Henderson's running lane quickly goes away but he turns back inside and finds a small crease. Once he finds the open field he uses his special speed and scores another touchdown.
Henderson just has a natural knack for finding room to run even if it does look like it is there, making him dangerous on every single down.