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Derrick Henry Wins 2015 Heisman Trophy
By Mike Tanchevski

Alabama running back Derrick Henry was named the 2015 winner of the Heisman Trophy Saturday night by the Downtown Athletic Club of New York. The junior running back is Alabama’s second Heisman winner; Mark Ingram was the first in 2009. Henry and Ingram sandwiched a five-year stretch of quarterbacks winning the trophy.

Henry’s win continued a streak of a running back winning the award every 10 years, beginning with the inaugural award received by Jay Berwanger of the University of Chicago in 1935.

Henry was one of three finalists invited to New York for the ceremony. Running back Christian McCaffrey of Stanford and quarterback Deshaun Watson of Clemson were the other invitees. Won the initial

The Alabama junior was listed on slightly over 86% of the ballots and received 1,832 points to beat out McCaffrey (1,539) and Watson (1,165) who finished second and third in the voting.

Henry’s heartfelt acceptance speech was filled with thanks to those who helped him achieve a life-long goal.

First, his family who raised and supported him sports and faith. Next, he thanked his teammates at Alabama who accepted him as a recruit from Florida.

Nick Saban and numerous Alabama coaches were mentioned in the speech as well as a number of the members of the Alabama “family”.

Henry is the ninth running back to win the award since 1985 and the 41st overall, he is also the 12th player from the SEC to take home the Heisman.

Henry rushed for 1,986 yards on 339 carries this season, his first as the starting running back for the Crimson Tide. His rushing total set single-season records at Alabama and in the SEC. The SEC record was previously set by Georgia’s Herschel Walker in 1981. His 23 rushing touchdowns tied the SEC record held by Tim Tebow and Tre Mason and his four 200-yard rushing games also tied an SEC record. His contributions were pivotal in Alabama’s SEC championship run.  

Heisman runner-up Christian McCaffrey lost by 293 points, the closest margin since 2011, when Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III edged out Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck by 280 points. It was the fifth time in the history of the award that a Stanford player has finished as the runner-up.

Henry won five of the countries six regions, losing the Far West to McCaffrey. There was a sharp drop-off after the top three vote-getters.

Derrick Henry

Alabama

1,832

Christian McCaffrey

Stanford

1,539

Deshaun Watson

Clemson

1,165

Baker Mayfield

Oklahoma

334

Keenan Reynolds

Navy

180

Leonard Fournette

LSU

110

Dalvin Cook

Florida State

79

Ezekiel Elliott

Ohio State

57

Connor Cook

Michigan State

13

Trevone Boykin

TCU

13

 

Henry’s rise to the pinnacle of the college football world was not unexpected. On September 3, 2015 in my preseason outlook I stated:

After splitting playing time with T.J. Yeldon last season Henry will be the feature back for Alabama this season. The 6’3” 245 pounder is freakishly strong and looks to lead the Tide back to the national championship game. While Henry had five games with 90 or more yards rushing last season, he was held to 40 rushing yards by four SEC foes. That must change if Henry wants to be in the Heisman discussion. His combination of strength, size speed and work ethic make him a special back, playing for a premier college program. That may be enough to get him a seat at the table in New York City.”

A pair of games remain for Henry to prove that he can help Alabama join him at the pinnacle of college football.

 

 

 

 

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