If you don't know anything about Malik Henry yet, it is about time you do. The 6-3, 180 pound Henry is quickly becoming one of the top quarterback prospects of the 2016 class. Henry first caught the attention of BYU and many top programs in the country after his standout performance at the Elite 11 Regional in Los Angeles back in January. Shortly after the Elite 11 L.A. Regional, the Cougars became the first program to extend Henry a scholarship offer. Arizona State, Colorado, Nebraska, UAB, and UCLA have all followed suit since then and Henry has also had interest from Notre Dame and other Pac-12, Big Ten, and SEC schools.
Henry is a dual-threat quarterback out of Westlake High School in Thousand Oaks, California with some remarkable physical talent, especially when it comes to his ability to sling the ball around the field (which you can see in his highlight videos below). Henry threw for 2,262 yards and 21 touchdowns completing 60 percent of his passes as a sophomore. He also added four touchdowns on the ground. Henry has not yet been rated by 247sports, but he has received a four-star rating from Scout. Outside of his impressive physical abilities, Henry has the reputation as a very coachable player.
Here's some highlights from Henry's sophomore season:
With interest from some of the top football programs in the country this early in the recruiting process, getting a player as talented as Henry to commit and sign with BYU in a few years will not be an easy task. Cougar fans hoping to see Henry in the white and blue in the future can at least take some comfort in the fact Henry does not have any kind of hometown loyalties to UCLA (or USC).
When I talked with Henry about what his UCLA offer meant to him, being that he is from Southern California, he said, "I appreciate the offer, like I do every offer. But growing up I never had a favorite college and I still don't." He went on to say, "I'm just very thankful that the coaches at UCLA believe in me as a student athlete enough to give me an offer."
Henry has not yet taken any kind of unofficial visit to BYU, but is trying to arrange something in the near future. Henry has already taken unofficial visits to Arizona State, UCLA, and USC. Henry has had some contact with a few of BYU's current players including offensive lineman, Brayden Kearsley, who made it very clear that he would like to block for "this stud" in the future on his Twitter account (below). Henry also told me that defensive back, Dallin Leavitt contacted him a few weeks back and the two have been talking. Although Henry has not yet visited Provo he did tell me he believes that BYU has "a very strong football program...along with a great coaching staff".
@malik_henry16 needa come ball at BYU so I can block for this stud— Brayden Kearsley (@BK55_BYU) April 8, 2014
Henry's aspirations go beyond the football field thought. Besides hoping to find a strong business and finance program at the school he chooses, Henry would also like to play baseball at the collegiate level and has let the BYU coaching staff know that. Henry is a right-handed pitcher with a fastball in the mid-80 MPH range and tells me he also throws a good changeup, sinker, and curveball. The fact that Henry is also a good baseball player is probably a good sign (just go look at the list of NFL quarterbacks that also succeeded on the baseball diamond), but with defensive back Jacob Hannemann's recent departure from the BYU football program to the MLB Draft last year it may worry some Cougar faithful. MLB Draft rules require that a player who doesn't choose to make the jump to the pros immediately after high school, complete their junior year of high school or turn 21 years old before eligible for the draft again. Hannemann spent most of that waiting period on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Henry is not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, so if he were to come to BYU, the Cougars would have him in the program for three years before he was even eligible to be drafted. When I asked Henry if given the choice would he choose playing professional football or baseball, he said he isn't sure at this point.
Henry is exactly the kind of player that Robert Anae needs behind center to run his offense successfully. Obviously, there is still nearly two years until Henry will sign to play football for one of his many suitors, but if he does decide to play for the Cougars it would be a big win for Bronco Mendenhall's staff and the program.