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Alabama in the Pros

Derrick Henry nominated for Walter Payton Man of the Year Award

Derrick Henry (#22) rushes for a touchdown for Titans in 2022 matchup against Houston
Thomas Shea - USA Today Sports

If only Miss Gladys could see the incredible person her “Shocka” turned out to be in the National Football League.

She raised her grandson, Derrick Henry, on core principles and values.

Henry developed a close relationship with her. She watched him do incredible things in football, including a College Football Playoff National Championship and capturing a Heisman Memorial Trophy in 2015 at Alabama. Miss Gladys died in 2016, but her Shocka continues the legacy she put inside of him. Currently, Henry is the dominant running back in the pros.

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Since entering the league in 2016 as a second-round pick, he has become the identity of the Tennessee Titans.

As talented as he is on the field, he is an inspiring man off it.

Henry has been nominated for the prestigious Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for a second straight season. The NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year honor goes to the player that best demonstrates excellence off the field. These players are active in their communities with charity work and give back to those in need. Henry would pack out the stadium at Yulee (Fla.) High School on Friday night. He gave people a show as a five-star athlete, but he shows the youth hope for them to become successful.

Henry said winning the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award would mean everything to him.

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He brought the Yulee High School team brand-new Nike sweatsuits ahead of its playoff game. Henry is constantly finding different ways to keep the minds of the youth intact. He is having another stellar rushing season in the pros, but Nick Saban’s words about impacting others took root with him. 

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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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