After winning the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night, Alabama running back Derrick Henry stepped to the podium and spent roughly 10 minutes thanking pretty much everyone who has influenced his life in any way.
His speech was emotional, it was heartfelt, it was touching.
“God has been so good in my life and blessed me with people who love and support me and all my teammates and coaches,” Henry said in-studio on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “Without all of them, I wouldn’t have made it to where I am today. I was just so thankful and blessed to have the opportunity to be put here and share the moment with everybody that helped me get there. It’s a special moment for me that I’ll never forget.”
Henry, with 1,832 points, narrowly beat out Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey (1,539) and Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson (1,165) in the voting. He became only the second non-quarterback to win the award since 2000. Mark Ingram won it in 2009, and the Hesiman Trust no longer recognizes Reggie Bush’s Heisman-winning 2005 season.
“(Winning the Heisman) was a lifelong goal of mine,” Henry said, “but I try not to focus on that. I just try to put the team first and go out there and work hard, make everybody better and just go out there and play and help the team win.”
Henry certainly did that, leading Alabama to a 12-1 record, an SEC Championship and a spot in the College Football Playoff. He rushed 339 times for 1,986 yards (5.9 yards per carry) and 23 touchdowns this season. In his final two games – wins over Auburn and Florida – Henry rushed 90 times for 460 yards and two scores.
That’s right. Ninety carries. In two games.
How’s that body holding up?
“I feel good,” Henry said. “I get treatment, make sure I get in the hot tub and cold tub, so I feel good.”
Henry, who is perhaps the most powerful running back in America, projects well to the next level. He admires Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch and Todd Gurley, among others, but he doesn’t want to play the comparison game.
“I feel like everybody has their own style,” he said. “But when I get an opportunity, I just got to spend a lot of time working on my craft and become a complete running back and wanting to do more by spending countless hours before practice, after practice and in the film room.”
For now, though, Henry is focused on bringing Alabama its fourth national title in seven years.
“We’re just ready to get back to work and get prepared right and challenge each other every day,” Henry said. “We got a great team in Michigan State we got to go up against.”
Alabama will square off with Sparty in the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Eve at 8 p.m. ET.
Henry was also asked about playing for Nick Saban. Does the perpetually grouchy Saban ever have fun?
“He’s fun, but at the same time, it’s all business,” Henry said. “He makes sure you come out there and work and get out what you need to do: just practice hard, work hard and make everybody better.”