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Analysis: Nashville, Tenn. TE Austin Henderson commits to the Gophers

06/04/2019, 6:00pm CDT
By Daniel House

The Gophers have received a commitment from Nashville, Tenn. tight end Austin Henderson. A three-star prospect, Henderson took a visit to campus this weekend and participated in Sunday’s camp. He chose Minnesota over offers from Iowa State, Indiana and Ball State, among others. He is the No. 52 ranked tight end nationally, according to 24/7 Sports. 

I had a chance to watch Henderson during live field workouts. At 6-foot-5, 221 pounds, Henderson’s body type currently looks more like a wide receiver, but he has room to grow and develop in the strength program. He is the type of player that could be flexed into the slot and out-wide because of his body control, size and quickness. 

Henderson will need to significantly improve his run blocking skills if he wants to adequately possess the necessary versatility at the college level. I’m not sure how much he’ll be used in-line during college because of his body type. I think it’s really dependent upon how much weight and strength he can add. It’s clear his run blocking technique must be refined to stay low and not get pushed around. 

Not only that, but he’ll need to continue adding physicality to his game. When running out-breaking routes to the sidelines, he is very smooth and can swivel his hips quickly to get separation at the top of his routes. The fluidity he has at the top of his routes is something that really jumps out, especially when you watch him drop his hips, plant and drive. 

When Henderson is tasked with getting open over the middle, he sometimes doesn’t have the play strength to muscle through tight coverage or win a contested catch battle. Body positioning, overall strength and run blocking, are all areas he must improve. However, Henderson has intriguing upside due to his athletic skills, size and quickness out of breaks. There is plenty of untapped potential available within Henderson’s skill set, but taking his game to the next level will require refinement under tight ends coach Clay Patterson and the entire offensive staff.


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