Oklahoma has lofty hopes for Mikey Henderson, especially after a promising debut last Saturday.
The true freshman had some nerves entering his first Sooners appearance, fellow H-Back Jeremiah Hall said, but nothing about Henderson’s performance suggested it.
The rookie Sooner H-Back, who saw an uptick in usage in the Sooners' season opener, caught four passes for 37 yards against Missouri State. One, in particular, he juked past one defender and dragged another for a first down.
The game was well out of reach for the Bears, but the effort he showed in the Sooners’ 48-0 win was appreciated by his veteran teammate.
"Mikey has been learning pretty quickly, and he'll definitely be great,” Hall said on Tuesday. “... I know he was a little bit nervous as anybody else would. But he went out there. He did his job. He worked hard, and I'm proud of him.
"He's the next one up."
Henderson, a 6-foot-2, 234-pound freshman St. Louis, Missouri, had more opportunity to showcase his ability on Saturday with junior H-Back Brayden Willis unavailable. OU running away with its only nonconference game also helped clear the path for Henderson to add experience, as well as relieve Hall and sophomore Austin Stogner.
Hall, a redshirt junior, has done his best to mentor Henderson after receiving similar support from the likes of Carson Meier and Dimitri Flowers.
Often, Hall doesn’t want to get too much in the way of Henderson’s progress, because he sees the making of a talented player. There is a lot of pride that comes with OU’s H-Back room, however, that inclines Hall to pass on that legacy to younger players.
“He'll naturally figure it out,” Hall said of Henderson. “But there are some things that a veteran needs to explain to him and I try and be that guy."
Versatility is a key for OU's H-Backs, which Shane Beamer, OU assistant coach for offense, sees plenty from Henderson.
"He’s got a unique skill set for a guy that’s his size, to be able to run and have the athleticism that he has," Beamer said. "He played some high school quarterback, he played some H-back, he did a little bit of everything in high school and we’re excited about his potential, for sure."