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5 Facts Ravens Fans May Not Know About Derrick Henry

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) takes a break during the first half of their NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn.
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) takes a break during the first half of their NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn.

Derrick Henry is coming to Baltimore on a two-year deal.

It's a marriage that has long been rumored to be in the works, and it's a player Ravens fans are at least somewhat familiar with from their team's clashes with the Tennessee Titans over the years.

But how much do Ravens fans really know about Henry's background?

Here are five fast facts:

Henry is the greatest high school running back of all time.

Florida high school football is no joke. It's full of spectacular athletes (just ask Lamar Jackson).

But Henry was a man amongst boys in his hometown of Yulee, Fla. He had arguably the greatest high school career of anyone, anywhere, ever.

Henry still has the national career high school rushing yards record. He posted 12,124 career rushing yards, breaking Ken Hall's record of 11,232 yards from the early 1950s.

Henry had a whopping 4,261 rushing yards his senior season, including one game with 510 scrimmage yards. He was a member of the 2012 All-USA Football Team and the MaxPreps, Parade Magazine, and Maxwell Football Club national player of the year.

He nearly transferred out of Alabama before winning the Heisman Trophy.

The Ravens have a history of adding Heisman Trophy winners – from Jackson to Mark Ingram II, who they signed five years ago around this time.

Henry adds another to the list, as he won the award while at Alabama in 2015 – the year before Jackson. Henry rumbled for 2,219 yards and 28 touchdowns that season, and no running back has won the award since.

But it may not have happened if his mother, Stacy Veal, and mentor/middle school coach J.T. Medley, had not convinced him to stay at Alabama. Henry's college career got off to a slow start as he was buried on the depth chart and had just 27 rushing attempts during his freshman regular season. He was thinking about transferring, per ESPN.

After having a long talk with Henry, Veal and Medley called then-Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban to voice Henry's unhappiness. Saban told them he would be the No. 2 back in the Sugar Bowl, and he made the promotion pay off with 161 yards and two touchdowns.

His nickname is "Shocka."

Henry's parents were just 16 and 15 years old when he was born. That's why his grandma, Gladys, gave him the nickname "Shocka," because he had shocked the whole family.

Gladys played a huge role in raising Henry just as she raised her own 14 children. Henry's father, Derrick Henry Sr. (known as "Big D") was absent for much of his childhood due to arrests. His mother worked multiple jobs to make ends meet.

In an essay for The Players' Tribune two years after Gladys had passed away, Henry wrote that she “did everything for me.”

He wears No. 22 to honor a late friend.

A second-round pick in 2016 (No. 45 overall), Henry started his NFL career wearing No. 2 – the same number he wore in college.

He switched to No. 22 before his rookie season kicked off, however, as a tribute to his late friend and Alabama teammate Altee Tenpenny, who was killed in a car accident on Oct. 20, 2015.

Tenpenny wore No. 22 at North Little Rock High School in Arkansas and went to Alabama in 2013 and 2014, Henry's first two years at the school.

What number will Henry wear in Baltimore? The No. 22 is currently held by cornerback Damarion "Pepe" Williams. The No. 2 jersey has been worn by quarterback Tyler Huntley, who is a free agent.

He blew up the Combine.

This one shouldn't come as a surprise. Henry's 2016 Combine performance proved that he was not only a highly productive Alabama tailback, but a special athlete.

Henry measured in at 6-foot-3, 247 pounds, making him the biggest running back in that year's draft. His 40-yard dash of 4.54 seconds still beat out seven other running backs, including former Ravens Kenneth Dixon and Alex Collins.

Henry's vertical jump of 37 inches was the fifth-best mark among running backs and his broad jump of 10 feet, 10 inches was tied for second best.

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