Ohio State Running Back TreVeyon Henderson Relying On His Faith in Deciding Whether He’ll Return for Senior Season

By Andy Anders on December 27, 2023 at 6:05 pm
TreVeyon Henderson

It’s not breaking news to say many factors influence a player’s decision on whether or not to leave a program early for the NFL draft.

Whether or not their stock can climb further, the outlook of their team next year, whether they’ve achieved certain goals in college, competition at their position, how much money they can make in NIL, all these things often weigh into the conversations a pro prospect has on whether to forgo his remaining eligibility.

TreVeyon Henderson’s decision-making process is different, however.

“I’m really just leaning on God to lead me toward my destiny and what he has planned for me,” Henderson said. “If I use my own understanding, I don’t know which way to go. So that’s why I lean on God, my father.”

Faith has shaped Henderson’s life in many ways this year.

He became a Christian in April, in large part inspired by the tribulations of his sophomore year dealing with injuries and the bevy of emotions he felt as what was then the most important thing in his life became a hardship. He went from 1,248 rushing yards as a freshman to 571 in 2022, with his yards per carry going from 6.8 to 5.3.

“I was just going through a rough time in my life because football was my life,” Henderson said. “My life was built on football. I was also trying to seek God at the same time and just figure out who God is. 

“So when I came to him, he literally sat me down, had me look back over my whole life and he helped me realize how I've been living my whole life the wrong way. And he helped me understand how much I needed him in my life and how lost I was, and he found me. And he saved me. He saved my life.”

Several fellow Christian athletes on Ohio State’s football team provided valuable advice on Henderson’s journey. 

Xavier Johnson, Emeka Egbuka and Gee Scott Jr. were among the names he mentioned in that regard. Former wide receiver Kam Babb has also been a huge source of inspiration for Henderson.

“All of you have seen what he went through, but you see him walking the facilities, a smile on his face, he’s never down,” Henderson said.

Henderson's reaction when he missed time with an injury again in 2023 was different.

After he missed three games for Ohio State in October, he returned against Wisconsin on Oct. 28 and collected 162 yards rushing with another 45 receiving to help Ohio State to a 24-10 win on the road. Patience, rather than trying to play through his injury as he felt he did in 2022, was a valuable lesson for him.

Henderson recorded two more games with over 200 combined rushing and receiving yards against Rutgers and Minnesota. In just nine games this season, he's collected 854 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns with another 229 yards receiving.

“I feel like God just kept having me look back at last year what happened when I tried to go my own way, keep dealing with the injury trying to go out there instead of just trusting him. And this time, I just put my trust in him,” Henderson said after the Wisconsin game. “Even though I couldn’t see where he was leading me, I knew it was gonna be somewhere special, and today, it showed.”

“He saved me. He saved my life.”– TreVeyon Henderson on God's Impact on him

One thing Henderson did confirm on Wednesday is that he’ll play in Friday’s Cotton Bowl, a choice motivated by both what he feels God is calling him to do and a desire to stick with his teammates.

“You’ve got all these worries that come up, ‘What if I get injured? What if this happens,’” Henderson said. “But I give all those worries to God. He led me to play in this game, to glorify him and to be out there for my brothers.”

After the Buckeyes fell short against Michigan and were left out of both the Big Ten Championship and College Football Playoff as a result, hoisting a Cotton Bowl trophy would feel vindicating for the running back and his teammates.

“Every game I go in expecting to win, so coming out with this win, it’ll be special. We’ll definitely see Friday though,” Henderson said.

When it comes to the NFL draft, however, things remain murky.

Even in his doubt, Henderson said he finds comfort reflecting on his favorite bible verse, 2 Corinthians 5:7, which states “we walk by faith, not by sight.” In Henderson’s words, he trusts “God’s timing.”

The thing Henderson is seeking is clarity. He’s unsure when that will come, but has faith that it will arrive at some point.

“I read my word, read my Bible, pray and then (God) maybe even leads me to some of my teammates to get more clear,” Henderson said. “Sometimes he uses other people to speak, those people come to me and give me advice or clarity on the answer I’m seeking.”

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