Alabama in the Pros

Derrick Henry joins elite 2,000-yard rushing club and pushes Titans to AFC South title

Derrick Henry, RB of Tennessee Titans, runs the ball against Houston Texas
Troy Taormina - USA TODAY Sports

Derrick Henry is the face of the National Football League at running back.

So many people wanted him to be a defensive player in high school and college, but the native Floridian committed to being a superstar on offense and he has been incredible. In his fifth NFL season with the Tennessee Titans, the alumnus of the University of Alabama claims two rushing titles. After turning in 1,540 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2019, the 2015 Heisman Trophy winner, College Football Playoff National Champion and former unanimous All-American has joined the elite 2,000-yard rushing club.

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On Sunday, the Titans faced the Houston Texans for a chance to win its first AFC South title since 2008.

For the Texans, it is one of two teams that Henry has consistently feasted on in his career.

Last season, he recorded 297 yards rushing against Houston with three touchdowns in two games. His biggest performance was on Dec. 29th, where he had 211 rushing yards and three scores on 32 carries. This time, Henry broke his previous career-high in yards that he set versus the Jacksonville Jaguars (238) in 2018.

He collected 250 yards rushing on 34 carries with two touchdowns in a 41-38 victory.

Henry averaged 7.4 yards per rush, and one of his scores went for 52 yards.

The 6-foot-3, 247-pounder totaled either first downs or touchdowns on 10 of 34 attempts and has ten 100-yard performances, including a pair of 200-yard games against the Texans. Henry has three 200-yard outings this season, but Sunday’s showing has given the Titans its first AFC South Division crown in 12 years. Along with the team’s success, Henry also was responsible for his first career 2,000-yard rushing campaign. As a junior at Alabama, he set the school’s single-season record and the SEC’s record for rushing yards (2,219). He has parlayed that success into becoming the eighth player in NFL history to tally 2,000 yards rushing — joining legendary names such as Barry Sanders, Eric Dickerson, Terrell Davis, Jamal Lewis, Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson and O.J. Simpson.

Prior to Henry, Peterson was the latest to accomplish the feat back in 2012 (2,097) with the Minnesota Vikings.

Henry stands at 378 carries for 2,027 yards and 17 touchdowns.

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He leads the NFL for carries, yards and scores, while picking up his third consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season. Henry has the Titans at 11-5 to finish the regular season and it enters the AFC playoffs as the No. 4 seed.

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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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