KJ Henry arrived at Clemson along with a mountain of expectaions. That tends to happen when you are one of the top players in the country, as Henry was.
Henry was the 14th best high school prospect in the 247 Composite Rankings and the third best at his position. To say that big things were expected would be understating it.
He redshirted in 2019, something he asked for after realizing he needed a year to acclimate to the college game. It isn’t often college kids are have matured to the point that they not only realize they need a year, but also actually ask for that year.
After taking that season, Henry really started to flash signs of his potential in 2019. Especially over the second half of the season as he earned more playing time.
He wound up logging 350 snaps in a reserve role, with 22 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, two sacks. While his 2019 numbers won’t jump off of the screen at you, it was readily apparent that he was really starting to feel comfortable in his role in the defense and that is a good indicator of what 2020 might have in store for him.
With the Tigers set to return to a more traditional 4-3 look on defense in 2020, all signs point to Henry taking a big step next season. He has to.
Clemson brought in its best recruiting class ever in 2020, and it included some elite-level defensive linemen. One of those, five star defensive end Myles Murphy, is expected to come in and compete for an immediate spot on the two-deep.
If Henry is to reach the level most envisioned he’d play at when he signed with the Tigers, the coming season is the time to start making that mark.