Derrick Henry Breaks Alabama’s Career Rushing Yards Record
GLENDALE, Ariz. – In his likely final game in an Alabama uniform, Derrick Henry went out with a bang.
The Alabama junior running back broke the Alabama career rushing yards record, previously held by Shaun Alexander, during Monday’s 45-40 College Football Playoff National Championship win over Clemson.
Entering Monday’s game, Henry needed 133 yards to pass Alexander’s all-time mark of 3,565 yards. Henry rushed for a game-high 158 yards – along with three touchdowns – on 36 carries against the Tigers, passing Alexander’s record on his 22nd rushing attempt of the game, a 2-yard run in the third quarter.
Henry, who has now rushed for 3,591 yards on 603 carries in his career, needed only 589 attempts and three seasons to move past Alexander, who set his mark on 727 carries across four seasons from 1996-99.
In the third quarter against Michigan State, Henry moved past Bobby Humphrey’s 3,420 yards for second on the Alabama career list. He needed 63 yards and 357 career rushing attempts to move past Humphrey, whose career total came on 615 carries.
At halftime, Henry had 20 carries for 128 yards and two touchdowns, becoming just the third player to rush for at least 100 yards and two touchdowns in a half of a national championship game.
But Alexander’s mark was far from the only record broken by the Heisman Trophy winner Monday, who has now broken or tied Alabama and or SEC records in each of his last five games.
When Henry reached the 100-yard mark rushing in the second quarter, it marked the 10th time this season and 15th time in his Alabama career – both school records. The season total of 10 100-yard rushing games passes Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson’s nine, while the career total of 15 ties him with Alexander and Bobby Humphrey.
Henry also tied Alabama’s career rushing touchdowns record of 42 owned by Ingram. Henry is the third player from a Power 5 conference with multiple rushing touchdowns in at least nine games in a season.
With his first touchdown of the game, a 50-yard run in the first quarter, Henry broke Tre Mason’s SEC single-season points record of 150, which he was tied with before the game. Henry scored 168 points this season.
Additionally, Henry’s 27-plus carries Monday moved him ahead of Herschel Walker’s SEC-record 385 carries set in 1981. (When including bowl game statistics, which did not count toward a player or team’s season total then, Walker actually had 410 carries in 12 games that season.)
Upon the game’s conclusion, Henry officially broke Humphrey’s Alabama single-season record of 133.7 yards per game set in 1986. Henry averaged 154.0 yards per game this season, including 147.93 per game rushing, in 15 games this season.
For the season, Henry rushed for 2,219 yards and 28 touchdowns on 395 carries.
Henry, a junior who is eligible for the NFL draft, said he hadn’t made a decision yet about his NFL future after Monday night’s win, though it’s expected he will forgo his final season of eligibility this fall at Alabama. Henry is a projected first- or second-round pick according to most mock drafts. Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban advises players with a first- or second-round draft grade to declare rather than stay on for another season.