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Prospects playing outside of the FBS - especially those lacking ideal size - need to dominate competition in order to capture the attention of NFL scouts. That is precisely what Henderson did for Coastal Carolina, scoring at least one touchdown in an astounding 35 consecutive games to close out his career, more than anyone in the history of Division I football.
Henderson leaves Coastal Carolina as the school's all-time record-holder in virtually every statistic used to gauge running backs, including career rushing yardage (4,635), rushing touchdowns (58), average yards per attempt (6.43) and is an accomplished receiver out of the backfield, as well, with 97 career receptions.
While lacking the bulk of his Coastal Carolina predecessor, Lorenzo Taliaferro (a 4th round pick by Baltimore in 2014), Henderson's compact frame, elusiveness and soft hands make him an intriguing change-of-pace back and returner candidate for the NFL. Henderson, in fact, even has the nickname indicating his unique ability to leap the competition getting tagged with the nickname "Hop" in high school based on the lateral agility and balance he shows with his jump-cuts.
STRENGTHS: Short but compact frame that provides very little target for would-be tacklers. Uses his unique frame as an advantage, hiding behind his blockers and showing both patience and burst in his approach, allowing blocks to set up before exploding through creases like he was shot out of a cannon. Quick feet with the stop-start ability to leave defenders playing on their heels. Good elusiveness to create on his own, leaving defenders grasping at air with quick jump-cuts to escape tight spaces. Good vision and balance to pick and sliding through traffic, often cutting back inside into the teeth of the defense to take advantage of cutback lanes, rather than simply breaking free to the outside. More powerful than he looks, spinning off of contact and running with good forward lean and leg drive to fall forward. Good hands out of the backfield, collecting the ball outside of his frame while maintaining his speed.
WEAKNESSES: Comes with obvious size limitations and may already be wearing down, missing three games due to a shoulder injury in 2016 that will need to be checked out by team doctors at the Combine. Legitimate concerns about the number of carries he's already absorbed, entering the NFL with 818 "touches" over the past three seasons. None of these touches were as a kick or punt returner, a role he'll likely be expected to play at the next level. Reliant upon his ability to spin through tackles, showing more balance and determination than strength to remain on his feet.
IN OUR VIEW: Henderson is more than just a big fish in a small pond. His versatility as a runner, receiver and returner warrants Day Three consideration and could help him carve out a nice "little" career at the next level.
COMPARES TO: Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers: There is only one man in the history of college football with a longer steak of touchdowns scored in games than Henderson and that is the similarly built and determined Woodhead, who scored in 38 consecutive games for D-II Chadron State. Like Woodhead, Henderson's value lies with the shiftiness he provides as a runner and receiver, as well as underrated power due to their compact frames and leg drive.