TreVeyon Henderson Impressing Ryan Day with “Tremendous” Leadership This Offseason: “I've Got A Feeling He's Gonna Have An Unbelievable Season”

By Dan Hope on May 13, 2024 at 8:35 am
TreVeyon Henderson

When former Ole Miss running back Quinshon Judkins entered the transfer portal in January, Ryan Day’s first call was to TreVeyon Henderson.

Day knew Judkins could be an asset for Ohio State’s offense. After all, Judkins ran for 2,723 yards and 31 touchdowns in just two seasons at Ole Miss, earning All-SEC honors in both seasons. But he didn’t want to send the wrong message to Henderson, who hadn’t yet announced his decision to stay at OSU for his senior season.

Given that he has been Ohio State’s top running back for the past three years, Henderson could have seen it as an affront that the Buckeyes wanted to add another running back to take carries away from him. But Henderson quickly assured Day that he would have no problem with the addition of Judkins.

“When it first happened and Quinshon went into the portal, the first thing was talking to TreVeyon, and 'What are your thoughts?' And he was unbelievable. 'If you think it helps the team, Coach, then let's do it,'” Day recalled. “And then talking to Quinshon and saying, 'TreVeyon is here and he's coming back,' and he said, 'Well, I'd love to go play with him.' … I just think that both of their approaches are that they can get each other better. But it all started with TreVeyon.”

That interaction was emblematic of the character Henderson has shown his head coach this offseason as he prepares for his final season as a Buckeye. While Day has lauded all of Ohio State’s many seniors who chose to return for the chance to chase a championship this year, Henderson is among those who have drawn the highest praise from Day this offseason, particularly regarding his leadership.

“I think TreVeyon's leadership so far this year as he's transitioned into his fourth year has been tremendous,” Day said in February. “The way that he's gone about his work, the way that he's holding guys accountable, he's got a different look in his eye, and I think that's important.”

Judkins has taken notice of Henderson’s leadership since arriving in Columbus.

“He's been a leader to the whole room by his actions and vocally as well,” Judkins said this spring. “Just continuing to improve all-around and inspire the young guys in the room, and I think he's done very good at that.”

Former Ohio State running back Miyan Williams, who played alongside Henderson in the Buckeyes’ backfield for the last three years before declaring for the 2024 NFL draft, said he noticed Henderson being more assertive as a leader when he was around the Woody Hayes Athletic Center this offseason.

“I’ve just been seeing him be more vocal,” Williams said at the NFL Scouting Combine. “That's one thing we worked on, we kind of helped each other with that too. Just speaking up in the meeting rooms and then outside of the meeting rooms.”

“The way that he's gone about his work, the way that he's holding guys accountable, he's got a different look in his eye, and I think that's important.”– Ryan Day on TreVeyon Henderson’s leadership

Henderson has said his decision to stay at Ohio State for his senior season was driven by his faith and his belief that he could make a bigger impact on people by staying at OSU for another year rather than going pro. While he is hungry to beat Michigan and win a championship after failing to achieve those goals in his first three seasons as a Buckeye, he says his biggest goal is to make the people around him better.

“It was definitely brought up, the topic of just coming back to beat the team up north, win the Big Ten and win a national championship,” Henderson said. “But God just kept reminding me that I feel like he's ready to do something much greater than what we're trying to do. Like man, he's ready to continue to change lives here on this team and shoot, not just players but coaches and staff, man. I see it, how much these coaches are growing and becoming better men and just all of us as a team, it's just amazing to me how God is growing through this team and I feel like it just really carries on a long way. Not even just inside the Woody, but outside. And I'm excited to see it.”

It was through that same prism that Henderson chose to welcome Judkins into Ohio State’s running back room with open arms.

“I view it as a good opportunity for real, man. I'm excited that he came here at Ohio State,” Henderson said. “And I'm thankful that God led me to welcome him in as a brother, and to love on him, and to treat him with respect as I should. And of course, the human element, when you hear something like that, you expect jealousy to creep up in your heart, hatred and envy between him or the coaches, but that's not the kind of guy God has called me to be. God has called me to love him and to help him, and so that's what I'm gonna do.”

How exactly Ohio State will balance the workload between Henderson and Judkins this season remains to be determined, but there should be plenty of carries to go around for both of them, particularly with the possibility that Ohio State could play as many as 16 or 17 games if it makes a run to the national championship game. And Henderson sees the benefit of having another elite running back on the roster who can help keep him fresh.

“I feel like it's good. When you're that guy taking a lot of the reps, of course you get tired,” Henderson said.

What the addition of Judkins shouldn’t signal, however, is any doubt from Ohio State that Henderson can be one of the best running backs in the country this season. Because that’s exactly what Day and the Buckeyes expect him to be after a first-team All-Big Ten season in 2023.

“I’ve got a feeling he's gonna have an unbelievable season,” Day said. “But he's already done a great job leading so far.”

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