Kevonte Henry (EDGE, 6’4” 225, Leuzinger HS, CA)
With the coaching carousel slowing and the turbulence of an offseason transition settling down, recruiting is coming back into focus. At the top of our remaining 2022 recruiting big board is EDGE, Kevonte Henry. The current Michigan verbal commit was one of our first offers after hiring former Michigan Director of Player Personnel, Courtney Morgan, and Henry looks like a good candidate to flip.
Morgan has been known as an excellent talent evaluator, and Henry was an under the radar 3-star guy when he first earned a scholarship offer from Michigan. While Henry was at a less prominent program, he exhibited all of the traits and talent that coaches look for in an EDGE prospect. He was explosive enough to play RB for his HS team, and he looks like a legitimate 6-4. He already carried ~220 lbs really well, and he looks like he could handle adding another 20-30 lbs. He didn’t just win with speed or strength, but he also showed active hands when pass rushing. He’s fundamentally pretty raw at this point, but it can take some time for linemen/pass rushers to understand how to incorporate hand fighting techniques and leveraging their arm length. Henry already looks like he has the basic feel for it.
Projecting Henry’s fit into our new defense as a pass rushing Edge seems clear, and the role should be familiar to most UW fans by this point. Somewhat contrary to many of the initial articles on the incoming defensive staff, William Inge’s 4-2-5 defense shouldn’t look all that different from the versions of UW’s 2-4-5 defense that we’ve seen over the last 3 years. At Fresno, Inge played two Edge/DEs who were long and explosive pass rushers (6-3+ and ~250lbs), which is approximately the size of current/recent defenders such as Mathis, ZTF, Smalls, and Heims. The field-side Edge played more conventional DE (rotating between stand-up and hand-down stances), and the boundary-side Edge was more of a hybrid OLB almost exclusively playing stand-up. With simplified run responsibilities and a wide variety of line stunts featuring the boundary-side Edge, I think Henry’s athleticism could be a big boost to the playmaking of our front 4 from the boundary-side.
If I were to make a player comp for Henry, I’d say he’s a bigger/higher-celing Psalm Wooching. Like Wooching, Henry is a high ceiling athlete (both played RB in HS) with a box-athlete frame that could be bulked up. He won’t be a power rusher early on, so leaning on his athleticism and explosiveness as a blitzer and on stunts, rather than a designated every-down rusher, might be important. This fits into Inge’s play calling philosophy that relies on an active front 4 that can execute stunts and simulated pressures to generate pressure rather than relying on blitzing numbers.
Henry will wait until the spring to sign, but the longer his recruitment drags on, the more likely that he’ll end up on Montlake. Henry could be a key cog in turning around our transitional 2022 class.