Wednesday, July 24, 2013

2013 Season Countdown: #36 Willie Henry

Willie Henry
Name: Willie Henry
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 306 lbs.
High school: Cleveland (OH) Glenville
Position: Defensive tackle
Class: Redshirt freshman
Jersey number: #69
Last year: I ranked Henry #85 and said he would redshirt. He redshirted.

Henry was pretty light for a defensive tackle when he committed just before National Signing Day 2012, but he was 300+ pounds by the time fall rolled around. He earned some practice buzz in the spring, and the coaches said he might contribute at any of three positions on the defensive line - strongside end, nose tackle, or 3-tech defensive tackle. They must really like his athleticism if they think he can compete at end.

As my sleeper pick from the 2012 class, I have pretty high hopes for Henry. I thought it might take a couple years for him to bulk up, but apparently, that hasn't been a problem. He probably won't start this year, but he should get some playing time behind nose tackle Quinton Washington and/or 3-tech Jibreel Black, along with Ondre Pipkins. With Washington and Black part of this year's senior class, that gives Henry, Pipkins, and perhaps others one year to apprentice before taking on starting roles. My guess is that the two aforementioned tackles rotate in this season and are your starting duo in 2014.

Prediction: Backup defensive tackle


  1. I heard that Willie has a very high football IQ and knows what's going on, on the field every play with excellent vision ...a coaches dream. Yes, I expect him to find his way onto the field at some point.

  2. Nice pick-up by Hoke late in the 2012 recruiting cycle. I watched Henry in the spring game and he showed the basic DL skills (quick off snap, good with hands, motor), which means he will certainly play in the 2013 rotation. He does look a little sloppy, but that is pretty common with freshmen eager to put on weight. Looks like he could develop into a decent penetrator and interior pass rusher.

  3. Looking forward to seeing what he can do. I'm glad he got to red-shirt last year and it looks like he'll get a chance to get some playing time this year. I don't know that he'll be ahead of Wormley and Godin, but it's just a guess at this point on one of the more interesting position battles, maybe the most interesting one.

    My only quibble is that I think Q is more likely than Pipkins to slide to 3-tech occasionally, only because he is more knowledgeable vet who has played there before.

  4. Should it be a concern when a guy jumps from #85 to #36 without having ever stepped on the field? That seems like an awfully big leap.

    1. It's not really that big of a leap, considering context. Anybody who's virtually guaranteed to redshirt is going to be in that 70+ range. Most freshman offensive linemen and defensive tackles are going to be in that range, because the vast majority of those guys redshirt. Then if a redshirt freshman works his way into the two-deep, he'll probably be in that 25-50 range somewhere. Henry won't be the only redshirt freshman in the top 36.