Henry returning for extra season with Razorbacks
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Much like at wide receiver, Arkansas is set to return every linebacker who played a defensive snap last season.
Little Rock native Hayden Henry is the latest senior to announce he’ll use his extra year of eligibility with the Razorbacks in 2021, doing so via Twitter on Tuesday.
He shared a “see you in 2021” graphic similar to those posted by his teammates alongside a caption that read “Grand Finale” with a Razorback emoji.
Although he started three games last season and was considered the No. 1 strong-side linebacker, Henry primarily served as the top backup linebacker behind Grant Morgan and Bumper Pool.
In 10 games, Henry made 25 tackles - including three tackles for loss and a sack - and had one pass breakup. According to Pro Football Focus, he also had seven missed tackles, which likely contributed to his career-low 56.0 grade in 2020.
However, Henry will once again add experience to the linebacker room, as he has played 515 total defensive snaps, while also being a solid special teams contributor. He’s played 780 special teams snaps during his four years at Arkansas, with at least 150 in each season.
That actually helped him get on the field as a true freshman in 2017, despite being a two-star blueshirt recruit. Over the last four years, he’s racked up 83 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, three pass breakups and one forced fumble.
By returning to school, Henry will get a third year to play alongside his younger brother, tight end Hudson Henry. They are part of a Razorback family that includes older brother Hunter Henry - an All-American tight end - and father Mark Henry - an all-conference center.
Despite already playing in four seasons, Henry is able to play a fifth season of college football because of eligibility relief granted by the NCAA in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Henry is the third senior linebacker to announce he’s taking advantage of that rule, following Grant Morgan and Deon Edwards. That trio, combined with Pool, Andrew Parker and Jackson Woodard, accounted for all of the Razorbacks’ linebacker snaps last season.
Seven other Razorbacks will also return in 2021 after being seniors a year ago: offensive linemen Myron Cunningham and Ty Clary, running back T.J. Hammonds, wide receiver De’Vion Warren, tight end Blake Kern, defensive end Dorian Gerald and wide receiver Tyson Morris.
Of the other nine scholarship seniors from the 2020 season, eight are moving on. Boyd and Jerry Jacobs opted out to prepare for the NFL Draft before the end of the season, while Jonathan Marshall, Feleipe Franks and Xavier Kelly waited until after the season to declare for the draft. Chibueze Nwanna, Jack Lindsey and Micahh Smith entered the portal.
The only one whose future remains unclear is kicker A.J. Reed, but his return is unlikely considering the Razorbacks signed a kicker in the 2021 class.
Seniors who decide to return to school will not count against the 85-man scholarship limit. That means those who chose to leave - whether to enter the NFL Draft or transfer portal - also don’t have any impact on Arkansas’ scholarship situation for next season.
Click here for HawgBeat’s latest projected scholarship distribution for 2021.