Alabama in the Pros

Former Alabama RB Derrick Henry cracks top-10 on NFL’s Top 100 Players of 2020

Derrick Henry running for a TD versus Jacksonville Jaguars in 2019
Christopher Hanewinckel - USA TODAY Sports

After signing a four-year extension worth $50 million for the Tennessee Titans, Derrick Henry received one of the highest honors for a player in the National Football League.

On Wednesday, he was voted by his peers at No. 10 on the league’s Top 100 Players of 2020.

The former Alabama running back was behind only Christian McCaffery (No. 6, Carolina Panthers) at the position, as he turned in a memorable 2019 performance.

Henry broke through in 2018 with his first career 1,000-yard rushing season; however, the nickname “King Henry” became a reality during the following year. The 6-foot-3, 247-pounder abused defenders and put national media on notice with a league-high 1,540 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns on 303 carries.

In the 2016 NFL Draft process, media pundits said his game would not translate over to the pros.

Henry defied the odds by collecting eight 100-yard outings, four matchups with at least 180 yards and one 200-yard performance.

He was nothing short of dominant in the AFC playoffs, pushing the Titans to the conference championship game versus the Kansas City Chiefs.

A former second-round pick, Henry averaged at least 30 carries and 180 yards against the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens. He has become one of the best young talents in the NFL and he is just getting started.

At Alabama, Henry was larger than life in the 2015 season.

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He put the offense on his back and propelled the Crimson Tide to a Southeastern Conference title and a College Football Playoff National Championship victory over Clemson.

He set a school record and SEC record for rushing yards in a single-season (2,219), while totaling 28 scores on 395 carries. With him taking on a full load, Henry finished the year winning a host of individual accolades — including the Heisman Trophy, Doak Walker Award, Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award and SEC Offensive Player of the Year.

Henry was one of seven former Tide standouts named to the NFL’s Top 100, cementing the fact that Nick Saban consistently puts the best in the league.

Former Alabama players on NFL’s Top 100 Players of 2020

-Marlon Humphrey, Baltimore Ravens (CB, No. 86)

-Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders (RB, No. 72)

-Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys (WR, No. 49)

-Mark Ingram, Baltimore Ravens (RB, No. 44)

-Minkah Fitzpatrick, Pittsburgh Steelers (FS, No. 35)

-Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons (WR, No. 11)

-Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans (RB, No. 10)

As the Titans hold on to Henry, this season will be fun to watch him even more.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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