Malik Henry is the featured player in the latest season of Last Chance U as the show documented his transition from Florida State to Independence, Kansas. During the show, the cameras showed Henry’s volatility, but also documented some of Henry’s strengths. To Henry’s credit, the team seemed to take on the explosive personality of head coach Jason Brown, which led to public conflicts involving both coaches and players. It also resulted in success on the football field.
Henry has bounced around the country dating back to high school when he transferred from IMG Academy to Long Beach Poly. Henry was a highly-touted recruit heading into Florida State, but the quarterback ended up transferring to Independence after losing the starting quarterback battle. Henry has the talent and knowledge to be an intriguing quarterback prospect for the right team. His reputation has taken a hit over his short college career, and 247 Sports downgraded him to a three-star recruit. Henry is still rated as the No. 2 ranked JUCO dual-threat quarterback in the country.
There are small spoilers ahead, so you may not want to proceed if you are early in the latest Last Chance U season. All signs point to Henry returning to Independence for another season.
Learn more about the Last Chance U quarterback.
1. Henry Originally Attended Florida State, Before Transferring to Independence Community College
Henry entered Florida State with a lot of anticipation, but the relationship never really worked out the way many expected. Henry announced he was transferring after the 2016 season ended. Henry released a statement to 247 Sports announcing his decision.
I have decided to transfer from Florida State University. I want to thank Coach Fisher and his staff for giving me the opportunity to be a student athlete at FSU. I wish him and the team nothing but success. At this time I don’t know what University I will be attending in the future.
Henry’s transfer may not have been made public until December 2016, but it was reportedly in the works during the final few weeks of the season. Jimbo Fisher coached Henry at Florida State, and explained that the team was expecting Henry’s decision.
“We’ve expected this for a while in our recruiting and we’ve planned for it,” Fisher told Rivals after Henry’s announcement. “We wanted to keep Malik here. He’s an outstanding young man and I wish him nothing but the best. He’s a great young man. But we’ve had our plan and had it scheduled for a while.”
2. Henry Was Recruited by Ole Miss But Is Still Waiting for a Division 1 Offer
At the conclusion of Last Chance U Season 3, the show noted Henry was still waiting for a Division 1 offer. Ole Miss was one of the schools that showed interest last fall, but nothing was finalized. 247 Sports reported Henry received an offer from Ole Miss on October 13, but this appears unlikely as all signs point to Henry returning to Independence for 2018. The Athletic’s Max Olson reported Ole Miss was recruiting Henry after quarterback Shea Patterson transferred to Michigan.
It looks like Henry will be playing again for Independence, and hoping to gain an offer after the 2018 season. As the show documented, Frank Diaz was Henry’s quarterbacks coach, but will not be back at Independence for the upcoming season. Diaz spoke with 247 Sports about Henry’s development.
I look at Malik like a younger brother. I really like Malik. Still to this day we talk. He’s improved a little bit. Last time I saw him, about a week ago, he had a better … you know, he just had a lot more confidence in himself. He’s smiling, he’s talking more. He’s out in the community coaching younger guys. At the end of the day that’s my guy. I wish I could coach him for another season. It takes more than three months to build a relationship with someone, and all the adversity that I had to go through with him made it a stronger bond. Had I had one more chance to coach him for one more year, I think we could really take the lid off something and put big-time numbers up.
3. Henry Was a 4-Star Recruit & No. 2 Ranked Quarterback Coming Out of High School
Coming out of Long Beach, Henry was one of the top quarterback prospects in the country. According to Rivals, Henry was a four-star recruit, and the No. 2 ranked quarterback in the country. He originally committed to Florida State, which set up a highly anticipated quarterback battle with Deondre Francois.
It was not the competition that the Seminoles coaching staff expected as Tallahassee never really clicked for Henry. The young quarterback ended up suspended before the season started for a “violation of team rules.” Henry was eventually reinstated, and Fisher explained Henry’s status in a 2016 interview with the Orlando Sentinel.
“He’s got a long way to go to get back in shape, get back to playing,” Fisher told the Orlando Sentinel. “Most likely he’ll redshirt. We’ll bring him along because he’s missed so much time…He’s been around and doing other things. There were certain things he wasn’t allowed to do or be in so that was part of it.”
4. Henry’s Dad Told His Son He Was Going to Play Football Not Baseball
Henry’s relationship with his father, Marchell Henry, was documented on Last Chance U. Henry noted his father was not involved in his life until it came time for him to deal with recruiting. Henry’s mother did not want her son to handle the recruiting process on his own, and reached out to his father for help. Henry admitted his relationship with his father was rocky at times, but Last Chance U showed the two are on good terms now.
On one of the early episodes, Marchell Henry noted his son wanted to play baseball rather than football. His father vetoed it, telling him he had a better future with football. Last Chance U showed Henry’s father attending games, and Henry working out with him in California.
5. On Last Chance U, Henry Opened Up About His Battle With Depression
Henry was mostly vague about his exit from Florida State, but did provide some insight into his battle with depression. Henry noted that his state of depression contributed to him not feeling himself in Tallahassee and, ultimately, transferring from Florida State. USA Today provided a brief recap of the scene.
Henry, who tells us of his career falling apart at Florida State under a cloud of depression, is in Indy purely because his mentor believes Brown’s tough love (and similar disposition as a hot-headed know-it-all) will help him.
On multiple episodes, Henry displayed his knowledge of the game by drawing up plays, and dissecting defenses on the fly in discussions with coaches. There is no doubt about Henry’s knowledge and talent when it comes to football. Hopefully things will finally click for Henry this season. Here is how ESPN described some of the strengths of Henry’s game coming out of high school.
Possesses a smooth, quick stroke — possibly his best trait. Possesses very good height at an early stage. Throws off a balanced platform, is poised within the pocket and is capable of keeping plays alive with his feet what takes break down. Plays within a spread scheme that accentuated his strengths. Does not take many risks with the football. Combination of arm talent and athleticism is excellent