Monday, January 30, 2012

Willie Henry, Wolverine

Cleveland (OH) Glenville defensive tackle Willie Henry
(image via 247 Sports)
Cleveland (OH) Glenville defensive tackle Willie Henry has given his verbal commitment to the Michigan Wolverines.  The 6'2", 270-pounder picked Michigan over Hawaii, Illinois, Louisville, Marshall, Pitt, Syracuse, and others.

Recruiting rankings:
ESPN: 3-star, #97 DT
Rivals: 3-star
Scout: 3-star, #38 DT
247 Sports: 3-star, #75 DT

Henry earned an offer this past weekend when he took an official visit to Ann Arbor.  He had previously visited Eastern Michigan, Hawaii, and Pittsburgh, and the pick was probably going to be Pitt until Michigan jumped into the fray.  When Michigan came forward with an offer after it became clear that at least a few of their high-profile targets would choose other schools, Henry didn't take long to decide.

The quick defensive tackle boasts a 4.78 forty yard dash, and that is indeed his biggest strength - speed.  I'm particularly impressed with how quickly Henry gets off the ball and penetrates into the backfield.  There are multiple highlights where he sprints downfield when blocking.  Not only does that show his speed, but it also shows effort.  You can't teach speed, and when you combine that with desire, it's hard to stop.  I like how hard he works and the way he celebrates after making good plays.  It's pure excitement, but not the "look at me" variety.

Henry does not come without flaws, however.  He's a very raw prospect when it comes to technique.  He doesn't use his hands well consistently, and too often he allows offensive linemen to get into his body.  As a small-ish defensive linemen, he can't afford to lose that technical advantage.  He also tends to play a little high at times, which will get him blasted out of position against bigger, more powerful offensive lines.  I would also like to see Henry show a little better play recognition.

Overall, I love the offer to and commitment from Henry.  He's exactly the type of prospect that is ripe for the picking at this time of year - an athletic project who, if he pans out, has a chance to be a real difference maker at the next level.  He needs to add weight and will likely redshirt, but his ability to get off the ball and chase from behind makes him a potential TFL machine.  While he reminds me of a slightly larger Terry Talbott (a 2010 commit who never played a down for Michigan), I think Henry has a higher ceiling.  He's likely headed for the 3-tech position that Will Heininger occupied this past season.  I think he even has the ability to play the 5-tech defensive end position, but Michigan should have that position well covered with the other recruits in the class.

Henry is the 24th commitment of Michigan's class.  Glenville is the alma mater of Michigan defensive end Frank Clark, and also the home of fellow 2012 Michigan target De'van Bogard, who is headed to Ohio State.

TTB Rating: 76


  1. "I love the offer to and the commitment from Henry."

    That makes my day, Magnus.

  2. Eally nice pick-up. The 4.7 speed is legit, that kid can move. He already has the ability to come off the ball fast and low, he just doesn't do it consistently. A fter a couple of years in he program, I can see a 290lb 3-tech wreaking havoc.

  3. i love the offer, i see the floor for him as a good backup, with the ceiling being however hard he wants to work. quick off the ball, good motor, and seems like a love for the game. plus, hoping to crack in to Glenville for the future is always nice.

  4. What anonymous 2:37p said, basically ... before I got very far I wondered whether the Terry Talbott comparison would be made, and there it was.