Moments after I published a piece previewing tonight’s match-up between Florida’s top two High School rushers ever, then breaking news came out that one of the backs, Derrick Henry, committed to the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Henry is Florida’s second all-time leading rusher and he only trails Kelvin Taylor who he is playing tonight at 8 pm in a matchup that will be aired on ESPNU. Henry chose Alabama over Georgia and Tennessee, because of the success he believes running backs can have in Nick Saban’s system.
“I love the program, I love the coaches,” Henry said. “I love coach (Nick) Saban and the rest of the coaches and the other players. I just feel like I have a chance to be very successful at that program on the field and off the field. They have been superior at my position and superior in the SEC over the last three or four years. It’s looking good at Alabama, and I’m just ready to get down there and get to work.”
Henry broke the Florida and Emmitt Smith’s single-game rushing record last week with 502 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns. This week he will go up against Florida’s number 1 all time leading rusher in Kelvin Taylor, who is the son of NFL Pro Bowler Fred Taylor.
These two will have plenty more matchups over the years as they will both be playing in the SEC (Taylor has already committed to Florida).
Henry believes there is no limit to what he can achieve while at Alabama, and thinks he fits in with the backs already enrolled there.
“I fit in real well,” he said. “T.J. (Yeldon) is a similar back, but I’m probably a little bigger than he is. At the same time, being at Alabama, they will help me be a better back and be more physical than I already am and just help me get better.
“As I watched Mark (Ingram) and Trent (Richardson) in that program, they grew tremendously from their freshman to their junior years. Mark won the Heisman and Trent won the Doak Walker. So I know if I go to Alabama the sky is the limit — I can do anything I want to.”
This makes tonight’s matchup in Florida all the more intriguing and I will be tuned in to watch what is hopefully the start of a beautiful rivalry.