Ohio State second-year running back TreVeyon Henderson (32) celebrates an early touchdown in Ohio State’s 43-30 win over Maryland on Nov, 19 2022. Credit: Zachary Rilley | Photo Editor
Second-year running back TreVeyon Henderson is readying himself to get back to his standard in his third season.
A year removed from breaking Buckeye first-year rushing records, including 19 touchdowns to set a new program mark, Henderson suffered through injury for most of his second season. He missed five games and Ohio State’s College Football Playoff matchup against Georgia.
Henderson said he dealt with a fractured sesamoid bone in his left foot. The bone connects to muscles via tendons and functions “as a pulley to alleviate stress on that particular muscle or tendon,” according to the National Institute of Health.
“You got two of those, and when they did the X-ray, I basically had three, so my bone had split,” Henderson said. “That’s like the bone you need to like actually push off, so basically I couldn’t push off that whole last season. Every time I tried to push off, I was basically refracturing that bone.”
Henderson had surgery this offseason to repair his injured foot. He’s been held out for spring practice but made sure to spend time around football and his teammates as much as he could.
“I just thank God for giving me the strength to play through the games that I played and getting me through the season,” Henderson said. “I was barely practicing all last season going up into the games and then not going into the games confident, wondering, will I be able to just cut again? Will I be able to be full speed again? Will I be able to just be myself, you know? And then I feel like that affected me a lot.”
Henderson’s ability to push off and get going was impaired throughout the 2022 campaign. In eight starts, Henderson ran for 571 yards in addition to six touchdowns and caught 28 yards and one more score. He averaged 13.4 carries per game.
The Hopewell, Virginia, native’s performance didn’t match his expectations nor output he had as a freshman in 2021. Henderson burst onto the Buckeyes and became a member of the All-Big Ten Second Team, rushing for 1,248 yards which finished fourth-most in the conference and behind only J.K. Dobbins’ 1,403 as most by an Ohio State freshman.
Henderson said he isn’t going to listen to criticism or skeptics whether he can return to the level of play he had two seasons ago. Just like achieving rushing records as a freshman, getting back to his game in 2023 is one of Henderson’s goals.
“I got a lot of expectations for myself,” Henderson said. “I hold myself to a high standard, and I definitely didn’t play up to that standard, like my standard, last year. So, this year I just want to play up to my standard again.”
The impact Henderson can make on the field when healthy is evident. His influence, however, stretches beyond the chalk lines.
“I think the guys appreciate his positiveness because when you get injured, you get down. It can wear on you a little bit, but you haven’t seen that with him,” head coach Ryan Day said. “He’s been a positive influence to his teammates and to his unit. So, he’s had a really good offseason, especially with his rehab, so we’re anxious to get him back on the field soon.”
Ohio State saw third-year running back Miyan Williams share a large role as ball-carrier last season, and he led the Buckeyes with 825 yards in 11 games that also saw him deal with injury.
Third-year linebacker Chip Trayanum switched over to the running backs room full time midway last season, first-year Dallan Hayden and his 553 rushing yards finished third among Buckeyes and second-year Evan Pryor will return from a knee injury, so Ohio State has plenty of options in the backfield.
Running backs coach Tony Alford said Henderson learned some “hard lessons” while he dealt with injury and the rehabilitation process. There are times when Henderson will take part in spring drillwork and Ohio State’s coaching staff monitors him, but Alford said Henderson is making strides to get back to where he’s been before.
“He’s trying to get himself into stuff, so we kind of have to pull the reins on him a little bit,” Alford said. “I think it’s great when he’s in. Kind of gives everybody, or me at least, gives me a more calm feeling just some guys that know what they’re doing. His energy is back the way it used to be and his demeanor is back the way it used to be in a way we all want it.”
Henderson will be one among nearly a half dozen running backs Ohio State can lean on going into the 2023 season.
The Buckeyes are first tasked with finishing spring practice, which caps with the spring game Saturday before the summer months lead into fall camp when Henderson is expected to participate completely. Until preseason practice, Henderson said he’s “going to do whatever I can” to be prepared for it.
“It don’t faze me at all,” Henderson said. “I tell coach Alford I don’t care who he brings in. I want him to bring in the best competition because that’s not going to do nothing but bring out the best in everyone else.”