As Derrick Henry rumbled through the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday night, bulldozing and stiff-arming a Super Bowl favorite out of the playoffs, the NFL world marveled – at Henry’ speed; his size; his relentlessness; his full package. And at the ingenious jump pass that seemed to bury the Ravens for good.
Sitting back home in Florida, Bobby Ramsay, in a strange way, was unmoved. Because, as he told Yahoo Sports Sunday morning, “I’ve seen it so much, I’m kinda numb to it.”
In fact, when Henry took a direct snap on third-and-goal, shuffled two yards toward the line of scrimmage, then elevated and tossed a touchdown pass to Corey Davis, Ramsay’s mind flashed back to Henry’s junior season at Yulee High School. To a play Ramsay, the head coach, and his staff had stolen from the Tim Tebow-era Florida Gators.
“It was almost exactly like last night,” he told Yahoo Sports.
Video exists somewhere. For now, we’ll rely on Ramsay’s words. “It was one of those plays where you have it, you have it, you’ve gotta run it at some point,” he recalled.
“Our offensive coordinator made the call. I remember, man, it was a high one,” Ramsay said of Henry’s pass. “But he got it in there. Back of the end zone. Guy’s able to run under it. Kid caught it, thankfully. Probably something that maybe we shoulda done more.”
Speaking after the game, Henry confirmed: “I haven’t done that pass since high school. Feel like I still got it.”
Derrick Henry, Quarterback? ‘Like Cam Newton times 3’
Henry’s high school legend has been well-publicized during his NFL playoff ascent. What may not be common knowledge is that he set national high school rushing records while taking a significant amount of shotgun snaps himself.
In fact, Ramsay told Yahoo Sports: “I had always wondered what it would’ve been like to make Derrick a quarterback. … He’s got a cannon. ... The first time we had him throw a pass, I think it landed behind the concession stand or something like that. We’re like, ‘Well, at least we know he’s got an arm.’”
There’s evidence of that cannon on high school highlight reels as well:
Derrick Henry has been throwing touchdowns since high school. pic.twitter.com/pzwarpoEtJ
— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) January 12, 2020
Henry was also an unparalleled physical specimen, with a passion for the running back position. “I’m not gonna mess with that,” Ramsay, now the head coach at Mandarin High School, said. “Keep the talent happy,” was his philosophy. “We’re not gonna try to jam a square peg into a round hole,” he reasoned. So he kept Henry at running back, and the rest is still-unfolding history.
“But I was always like, man, if we can teach this guy to play quarterback,” Ramsay said, “this is like Cam Newton times three.”
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