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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Henry soaks up NFL attention at Arizona’s pro day

    Running back Chris Henry darts upfield during Arizonas 28-14 loss to ASU Nov. 28 at Arizona Stadium. The junior, who decided to forgo his senior season for a shot at the NFL, impressed scouts at last months NFL Combine.
    Running back Chris Henry darts upfield during Arizona’s 28-14 loss to ASU Nov. 28 at Arizona Stadium. The junior, who decided to forgo his senior season for a shot at the NFL, impressed scouts at last month’s NFL Combine.

    After dominating the NFL Combine with sheer athleticism, UA running back Chris Henry was the prettiest girl at the dance March 10 during Arizona’s annual pro day festivities.

    At least that’s how Josh Luchs, one of Henry’s agents, said he saw it as NFL scouts lined up one by one to speak with Henry on the Jimenez Practice Facility after pro day, in which Henry participated in football-related activities but only watched the speed and strength drills.

    After all, there wasn’t much more Henry could do in the weight room after running a 4.40 40-yard dash and benching 225 pounds 26 times, both second among all running backs, while also tying for first in the broad jump, taking second in the long shutting and placing third in the short shuttle at the Combine in late February in Indianapolis.

    “”I know I’m an extraordinary athlete. I know I have great ability, and I just went into there confident and went in there wanting to compete,”” Henry said of his mindset going into the Combine.

    “”I thrive off of competition, that’s what I love to do.””

    Now the chiseled Henry may have launched up NFL teams’ draft boards. About 45 scouts attended Arizona’s pro day, said UA strength coach Corey Edmond, the most since UA head coach Mike Stoops took over three years ago.

    Arizona and Ohio State were the only schools to schedule pro day that day, allowing the high number of scouts to attend.

    Although Henry rushed for just 892 yards in college on an average of 3.3 yards per carry, including 581 on 3.5 ypc last season, the 5-foot-11, 228-pound back never considered it a risk to enter the draft despite having a year of eligibility left and incoming offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes’ spread offense at his disposal.

    “”I considered it definitely a good decision, and any decision I would have made I would have went for head down and running, and that’s definitely what I did,”” Henry said.

    As for the players who participated in the weight room drills, senior safety Michael Johnson may have made the biggest impact. Johnson set a personal best with a 4.53 40-yard dash time.

    “”I knew I was going to come out and work hard and give it what I had and try to impress these coaches here,”” Johnson said.

    Still, Edmond expects Johnson to be able to run faster because he has not been able to work on “”a lot of explosive stuff”” due to a hamstring injury that caused him to miss Arizona’s final two games.

    UA seniors Syndric Steptoe, Nick Folk and Marcus Smith also participated in the festivities in hopes of getting drafted.

    Steptoe ran a 4.53 in the 40 but struggled to correctly do the short shuttle before finishing with an unofficial time of 4.11 seconds, a result UA associate head coach Dana Dimel said he thinks Steptoe can improve.

    Folk only did the bench press during the strength and speed drills, putting up 14 reps, and then kicked field goals with a scout from Baltimore looking on.

    As Henry tries to work his way into a first-day pick, he may be helped most by those who doubt him because of his mediocre numbers at Arizona, more so than those who believe in him because of his uncanny combination of strength and speed.

    “”People are so negative, and it’s just funny to me because throughout this whole process you see people who were first saying, ‘Oh, he shouldn’t have even got invited to the Combine. He’s not going to do this, he’s not going to do that,'”” Henry said. “”I love it, man. I eat it up, I eat it up.

    “”I love that kind of stuff. I remember that kind of stuff,”” he added. “”I use it as fuel when I work out, so keep it coming.””

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