Mark Edwards In My Opinion: Henry shows what he can do in Sugar Bowl
by Mark Edwards
medwards@annistonstar.com
Jan 02, 2014 | 2047 views |  0 comments | 37 37 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Alabama running back Derrick Henry (27) is upended by Oklahoma defensive back Zack Sanchez. The Alabama Crimson Tide played the Oklahoma Sooners in the 80th Annual Sugar Bowl in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.  (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
Alabama running back Derrick Henry (27) is upended by Oklahoma defensive back Zack Sanchez. The Alabama Crimson Tide played the Oklahoma Sooners in the 80th Annual Sugar Bowl in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
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As a high school football player, Derrick Henry set a national record for most rushing yards in a four-year career.

But at 6-foot-3 and 238 pounds, Henry wasn’t everyone’s choice to play running back. As silly as it seems now, so-called experts labeled Henry as a future outside linebacker.

While he probably would be a good one, he showed in Thursday night’s Sugar Bowl his future definitely includes carrying the ball left, carrying the ball right, and carrying the ball up the middle.

His highlight was a 43-yard touchdown run in which he showed he’s not just a large human being — he’s fast, too.

In a sense, the Sugar Bowl was a meaningless game, because no championship was on the line for a couple of programs accustomed to playing for championships. But if nothing else, it gave Henry a chance to show what he can do.

He nearly didn’t get the chance to play much in the Superdome. T.J. Yeldon is the starter, and Kenyan Drake was the backup for all of the regular season. But Nick Saban hinted Tuesday on his radio show that Drake has struggled to hold onto the ball. That moved Henry to second string. In addition, Yeldon lost a critical fumble in the first half, which gave Henry a little more action that he might’ve gotten otherwise.

Whether Alabama continues to compete at the highest level next year, there’s little doubt whatever the Crimson Tide does, it will include some Henry running right, Henry running left and Henry running up the middle.

Contact Sports Editor Mark Edwards at medwards@annistonstar.com. Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.
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