GLENDALE, Ariz. --- Add a title for Derrick Henry, already a Heisman Trophy winner.
Add the title of Alabama’s all-time leading rushers.
Along with Alabama’s 45-40 victory over Clemson in Monday’s College Football Playoff title game came another stellar performance by the guy that won Alabama its second Heisman Trophy this season. Henry, the running back who carried 40-plus times each in the Iron Bowl and SEC Championship Game, ran 36 times for 158 yards against Clemson.
He came into Monday’s already owning the SEC’s single-season rushing record, previously held by Herschel Walker. Henry left Monday’s game transcendent at Alabama.
His performance set his season total at 2,219 yards and his career total at 3,591 yards. That breaks Shawn Alexander’s career record of 3,565.
“It’s not all about me,” Henry said. “It’s about me and my teammates and sharing it with my coaches. God is for me to have that, and it’s something that I can share with them as long as I have it.”
What’s most remarkable is that Henry achieved topping Alabama’s career list with only one year as the Tide’s starting tailback. The junior spent his first two seasons at Alabama playing behind T.J. Yeldon.
With Kenyan Drake coming back off a serious foot injury at Ole Miss last year, the thought was that Henry would have more of a load-share partner at tailback.
“When the season started, I didn’t know who would be more productive, Derrick Henry or Kenyan Drake,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said.
But Drake had nagging injuries during the season, and Henry showed himself more than ready to be the top guy. He carried Alabama’s offense on his back at times this season.
“I just wanted to contribute to the team, whatever it was,” Henry said. “That’s all I wanted was to contribute and held this team get here, and I’m glad we did.”
Henry got Alabama started Monday with 50-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
He added a 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, running behind the lead block of defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson, who lined up as a fullback.
Appropriately, Henry added the decisive points on a 1-yard touchdown run to put Alabama up 45-33 with 1:07 to play.
So capped the greatest season ever by an SEC running back, and now the question comes … will Henry run for any more yards at Alabama? He’s a junior and could declare for the NFL draft.
“I’m not really thinking about it right now,” he said. “I’m just enjoying this with my team.”
Contact Sports Columnist Joe Medley at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter, @jmedley_star.