TreVeyon Henderson’s first season at Ohio State was one of the best freshman seasons ever for an Ohio State running back.
In his first-ever start, Henderson broke Ohio State’s single-game freshman rushing record by rushing for 270 yards against Tulsa. He broke Maurice Clarett’s single-season freshman touchdown record by scoring 19 times – 15 rushing touchdowns and four receiving touchdowns – over the course of the year, while his 1,248 rushing yards were the second-most ever in a single season by an Ohio State freshman.
Going into his sophomore season at Ohio State, Henderson has already established himself as one of college football’s top running backs and one of the Buckeyes’ biggest stars. But don’t think that Henderson is anywhere close to satisfied.
“I’m never satisfied,” Henderson said in December. “I’ll never be satisfied. I always feel like I got more to prove.”
Henderson still believes he can improve in every area of his game.
“I want to get better at everything,” Henderson said. “Each part of my game, I want to be the best at.”
One particular point of emphasis for Henderson in his second offseason as a Buckeye will be improving as a pass blocker. He wasn’t asked to pass block in Hopewell High School’s offense, so having to pick up blitzes was the most eye-opening part of his first season of college football, though he feels like he held up decently.
“This was my first time ever having to pass block. I never pass blocked before,” Henderson said. “I think I did alright at it for being 5-10, 210, 212 pounds, I think I did OK … But it’s just like they’re coming at you full speed, and you’re just standing right there, you gotta take that, whatever’s coming to you. But I think did a good job of sticking my face in there.”
Part of that process will be getting stronger in the weight room through offseason workouts led by Mickey Marotti and his strength and conditioning staff. Though he isn’t looking to increase his weight, as he doesn’t want to lose any of his elite speed, he is looking to build more muscle.
“I’m always trying to do that, trying to get bigger,” Henderson said. “I know Coach Mick is definitely trying to get me right.”
Entering the 2021 season, Henderson hadn’t played an actual football game in nearly two years, as he lost the opportunity to play his senior season of high school football when Virginia moved its 2020 high school football season to the spring of 2021, after he had already enrolled early at Ohio State. While he continued to work hard to improve on his own – he says he worked out three times a day – he didn’t take any hits for a year.
He felt that as his freshman season at Ohio State went along. While Henderson played in all 13 of Ohio State’s games as a freshman, running the ball 184 times and also catching 27 passes for a total of 1,560 yards from scrimmage, he was forced to leave several games with minor injuries, so he’ll be trying to prepare his body to better withstand the grind of a full college football season in 2022.
“Throughout the season, you feel your body kind of start trying to shut down on you a little bit, but I think I did a pretty good job of taking care of my body, getting in the training room before practice, after practice,” Henderson said. “Each week I was in the training room, grinding, trying to make sure I was straight before the game. But it was like a couple games, like I was nicked up a bit going into some of the games, but I was able to play through them.”
“I’ll never be satisfied. I always feel like I got more to prove.”– TreVeyon Henderson
After a high school career in which long touchdown runs came easily, Henderson has also had to learn to embrace the “dirty” runs, as he calls them. Though Henderson showed plenty of home-run hitting ability as a freshman, with 17 plays of 20-plus yards from scrimmage, he quickly realized he also needs to be able to grind out the tough 3-5 yard runs against Big Ten defenses.
“I had to learn to love those,” Henderson said. “Especially after the beginning of the season, after the Tulsa game, everything was open. And then after that, you just see, I just gotta fight for, go get what’s yours.”
Being able to fight for tough yards is only going to be more important for Henderson next season. With Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson and Jeremy Ruckert gone from Ohio State’s offense, defenses could make stopping Henderson a bigger part of their game plans, especially now that they have a full year of film to study his strengths and weaknesses.
That said, Henderson expects to be ready to do whatever his team needs him to do to give the Buckeyes the best chance to win.
“I just got to continue to work hard,” Henderson said. “Get bigger, get faster, get stronger. I’m ready for whatever. Whatever my team needs me to do to get the win and help them out, I’m with that, I’m down for whatever. I’m gonna definitely be ready for whatever.”
All in all, Henderson’s first season as a Buckeye should only be viewed as a smashing success, and he feels good about what he was able to accomplish. He says “it means a lot” to already be Ohio State’s feature running back and to have already broken multiple school records, while he also believes he matured as a person off the field.
“Coming in, not being able to play football for a year, I think I had a good freshman season,” Henderson said. “Being here is tough. It’s a grind. So just looking back at all the things I went through and I’m just excited, just knowing I made it through all that.”
To become one of Ohio State’s all-time great running backs, however, Henderson must continue to build on his first-year success and perform even better over the next two seasons. And he’s motivated to make that happen.
“Dreaming big, that’s always a part of my process,” Henderson said. “I have some big expectations for myself. And I'm always trying to prove myself wrong. That's what I'm always trying to do. And I end up proving myself wrong.”