Hello: Willie Henry

Submitted by Ace on January 30th, 2012 at 2:18 PM

[UPDATE: There is some dispute as to whether or not Henry has committed. Tom texted Henry, who said he hasn't committed yet and was looking to announce on Tuesday ($). Sam Webb, on the other hand, confirmed the commitment with Ted Ginn, Henry's head coach at Glenville. Sounds like Henry will end up at Michigan either way and there was some miscommunication between him and Ginn about the announcement, but I'll let you know if circumstances change.]

Sam Webb is reporting on Twitter that Glenville (OH) DT Willie Henry, who visited and got an offer over the weekend, has committed to Michigan. Henry becomes Michigan's 24th commit of the class of 2012 and projects to fill a spot at three-tech defensive tackle. The last Glenville product to join the Wolverines was another three-star defensive lineman, current DE Frank Clark—let's hope Henry is able to impress the coaches as much as Clark did last year.


Scout Rivals ESPN 24/7 Sports
3*, #38 DT 3*, NR DT 3*, 75, #97 DT 3*, 83, #75 DT

Coming from a high-profile program in Glenville, Henry has had his fair share of exposure, and all four services agree that he's a low-to-mid three-star prospect. The general consensus on his size is that he's in the area of 6'3", 270 pounds, so he'll have to put on some weight if he's going to land at defensive tackle.

He appears to have the frame to do just that, according to ESPN's evaluation ($):

Though Henry needs to keep developing his frame and add some more good mass he does possess good natural size and looks to carry more bulk than is listed. As a defensive tackle he flashes a good get-off, but can be inconsistent and while at times he shows a nice burst at other times he can be a beat late and needs strive to be more consistent in his get-off. He can tend to play high and needs to work to keep his pad level down. When he does work to stay low he can get overextended and needs to do a better job of playing with better bend and generating more power from his lower body when he engages blockers. When he can gain leverage he is a tough guy to move, but he seems to make things hard on himself at times. He looks to have a solid reach for his build, but needs to do a better job of bringing and using his hands to keep blockers from getting into his frame. When he is active with his hands he can battle and be tough to handle, but with a tendency to pop up and lead with the shoulder and lose his hands he can let blockers into him and can be pushed back. Demonstrates adequate ability to locate the ball though doing a better job of separating from blockers could help to find the ball better. Displays marginal short-area change-of-direction skills.

As is expected with a sleeper prospect like Henry, improving technique will be key if he is going to contribute down the road, and it sounds like he has a fair amount of work to do in that regard. This is when it's quite handy to have three defensive line coaches on the staff. Scout, who ranked Henry the highest out of any recruiting service, has a more positive take on his game. They list athleticism, foot quickness, and pass-rushing ability as his strengths, with size as his area for improvement. Allen Trieu likes Henry's athleticism and, in contrast to ESPN, praises his jump off the line:

Henry is an athletic player who is light on his feet, has good coordination and closing speed. He is disruptive and gets good penetration because he has good get off. He shows a good motor and foot speed in pursuit. He has to add some bulk and strength to be able to anchor against the run, but he flashes, makes some big plays in the backfield and is a good interior pass rusher.

Trieu evaluated Henry at the Columbus NIKE Football Training Camp last May, where he competed alongside the likes of Ondre Pipkins, Danny O'Brien, Mario Ojemudia, and Adolphus Washington, and said he "produced outstanding results in the 1-1s. He’s quick and agile, and used that to win every rep he took."

John McAllister of MSROhio notes that Henry spent his winters focused on basketball, which could help explain his solid athleticism and his need to add weight, and he echoes the praise for Henry's quickness:

Listed at 6'3-270, he uses his athleticism and quickness to beat offensive linemen. Really like the way he uses his hands to separate. Plays pad under pad. Needs to improve his change of direction, but his closing speed on his pass rush is excellent. He agrees that his quickness is his strength. A weakness is that he feels that he must play hard every down. Going both ways on a high level program is hard. He wants to play hard every play. Conditioning and pacing himself is important. Honestly, evaluating him, he does not take many plays "off."

To sum it up, Henry fits the mold of a raw but talented D-line prospect: athletic, quick, and with a good frame, but in need of some serious coaching on technique.


Henry held offers from Akron, Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisville, Marshall, Ohio, Pitt, Syracuse, and Toledo. Obviously, that's a lot of MACtion, but offers from the Illini, Pitt, and Syracuse stand out.


No stats were available through an initial Google-stalk. If you spot any, post them in the comments and I'll update the post.


ScoutingOhio lists Henry with a 4.78 40-yard dash. That would be outstanding for an interior lineman, even one who played TE and DE in high school, so I'll give that four FAKEs out of five and hope I'm wrong.


Henry boasts a rather extensive, and impressive, senior highlight film:

These are only highlights, obviously, but he looks very quick off the ball.


As stated earlier, Henry should land at the three-tech at Michigan once he puts on some weight. It's always tough to project these sleeper recruits as anything more than useful depth for the squad, but Henry looks like a player who could contribute down the road as a situational pass-rusher—if he can keep his burst and quickness after adding 20-30 pounds, he could be a real handful for interior offensive linemen. With Ondre Pipkins slated to hold down the nose and command double-teams for the next four years, Henry could see a lot of single-blocking if he eventually sees the field, and he has the athleticism to take advantage. Given the need to add weight and refine his technique—as well as the strong class of defensive linemen already in the fold—it's safe to assume that Henry will redshirt and likely take at least a couple of years to crack the depth chart.


Henry's commitment leaves up to four open spots in the class of 2012, but at this point there aren't four obvious candidates to fill those spots. With Josh Garnett, Armani Reeves, Alex Kozan, and Sam Grant all committing elsewhere over the past week, only Jordan Diamond remains as a clear option to join the class. He announces on February 3rd, two days after signing day, so we'll see if any other surprises pop up in the interim. There are no huge needs remaining for the class (more on that tomorrow), though getting at least one more offensive lineman—Diamond, in all likelihood—would alleviate some depth concerns. Other potential positions to watch would be tight end, wide receiver, and cornerback, though as I said there are no current targets on the radar, at least when it comes to the recruiting services. We'll have to wait and see if the coaching staff has other plans or if they choose to pocket a couple scholarships for the 2013 class.



January 30th, 2012 at 3:16 PM ^

This is one of the most idiotic things I have ever read about a recruit.

You might as well say that one of Salma Hayek's weaknesses is that she has big boobs.


January 30th, 2012 at 3:29 PM ^

Screw the rankings. The kid wants to be at Michigan and has great potential. What more could you want? No doubt this kid will become a beast with the coaching he will get from the d-line coaches. All i had to see was 1 minute of film and i was sold. GO BLUE!!


January 30th, 2012 at 3:29 PM ^

You can never have enough DTs.  It's a tough position to fill.  Re-establishing a pipeline to Cleveland in general, and Glenville in particular, is an added bonus.

One Inch Woody…

January 30th, 2012 at 3:34 PM ^

He looks like a monster in his senior highlight film... I haven't seen that much speed from a DT in a long while. The thing that seemed the most impressive and probably is is his speed and sheer athleticism... he was chasing RBs 20 yards downfield to get the tackle. The thing that seemed most impressive that probably isn't is his tackling style. A lot of the TFLs in his highlight were just barely - i.e. he jumped and was able to wrap the ball carrier from the side and pull the carrier down with his weight. That's not going to fly in the Big 10, so he'll need to work on his technique.

I'm very excited to see him develop into the player he can potentially be. A 6'2'' 300 pound monster beast with superior speed like Barkevious Mingo.



January 30th, 2012 at 4:04 PM ^

that he will turn out to be a good player one day. I have complete faith in our coaching staff's ability to identify talent. Case and point: Ondre Pipkins (although admittedly he hasn't even gotten on campus yet so I guess that's slightly premature)


January 30th, 2012 at 6:23 PM ^

I would honestly be getting unbelievably pissed if I were this guy. He finally gets an offer after the five people ahead of him don't want to go here, and then when he actually accepts, he gets scooped on it?


January 30th, 2012 at 8:18 PM ^

I think there are just some words/terms that recruiting services need to stop using.   I don't need to hear about a high school kid's "get-off" and how fast or slow it is.  Was that really the best way to say that?

I too have a quick get-off.  It doesn't mean I can play defensive line.


January 30th, 2012 at 11:00 PM ^

but is it just me, or does his film look extremely impressive? Great motor, good size, great feet.  Surprised he doesnt have a few more offers under his belt.  I am actually quite excited about this kid.

Bo Knows

January 30th, 2012 at 11:58 PM ^

Looks like the "pipeline" Michigan is trying to build at Glenville is for the guys who don't get Ohio offers and feel slighted.. that's okay with me.  These guys are here ready to play and prove Ohio wrong.  I love it.


January 31st, 2012 at 10:15 AM ^

Am I the only one laughing like crazy at :20 in the video (second highlight) when Willie has just sacked the QB and then one of his teammates (a DB, from the looks of it) comes flying in to jump on him and celebrate, and Willie just throws him off like a rag doll? Hilarious.

I'm as disappointed as anyone that we struck out on Kozan, Grant, Garnett, etc., but this is a solid pick-up for this recruiting class. (I know we should think of 4-3 under recruiting more like a 3-4, so it wasn't that worrisome that Pipkins was our only true DT in this class, but I'm glad we've picked up another DT, and one with a lot of upside at that.)

Welcome to Michigan, Willie Henry!