Brian D. Obergfell, of the Heisman Trophy Trust, announced the choice of Henry on Saturday evening on December 12, 2015, on a nationally televised ESPN sports special live from the PlayStation Theater in Times Square. He received 1,832 votes and won five of the six regions, South (368), Northeast (290), Midwest (308), Mid-Atlantic (292) and Southwest (292). Derrick Henry trailed second place finisher Christian McCaffrey (1,539) in the Far West section by 51 votes (282 to 333). Henry was named on 86.01% of the total ballots.
The 2015 balloting was the closest since 2011, when Robert Griffin III (1,687) won by 280 points over Stanford quarterback, Andrew Luck (1,407). Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson (1,165) was third in the voting. The three 2015 finalists received 81% of the total points available. A total of 84% of the ballots (750 of 898) were received after the conference championship games weekend of December 5th.
The twenty-one year old Yulee, Florida native is the 18th Junior to receive the award and 16th from the South region (AL, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, TN). Nick Saban has coached Alabama’s only two Heisman Trophy winners.
A total of 929 electors, 870 voters, 58 Heisman winners and one aggregate fan ballot was received and tabulated by the independent accounting firm of Deloitte & Touche, LLP. Each of the six regions, Far West, Mid Atlantic, Midwest, North East, South and Southwest has 145 media votes. Every ballot must designate three individuals for the Heisman Trophy. First place votes receive three points, two for second and one for third. The Heisman Committee created the point system in an effort to eliminate any sectional favoritism.
Henry was very consistent over the course of 13 games gaining a Southeastern Conference single season record 1,986 yards on 339 attempts eclipsing the mark set by 1982 Heisman Trophy winner, Herschel Walker of Georgia. He powered through the initial point of attack with frequency relying on a 6-3, 242 pound frame. Once he fractured the defensive front seven, the long-legged north-south running back reverted to sprinter mode. The deceptive speed surprised many fast defensive backs trying to chase him down from behind.
One special November afternoon performance embodied the dynamics of the 2015 Heisman race. A 210 rushing yard, 38 carry, three touchdown display on national television by Henry against then number two ranked and undefeated LSU coupled with the Alabama defense shutting down the frontrunner of the coveted award, Leonard Fournette, was the breakaway moment of separation from the pack of candidates. He heeded the advice of a famous Alabamian, Satchel Paige, and never looked back. No one was able to gain on him. Henry followed with rushing totals of 204 (Mississippi State), 271 (Auburn) and 189 (Florida) in the next three of four contests. He outdistanced every contender and became the 12th recipient of the Heisman Memorial Trophy from the SEC, sixth running back – 1942 Frank Sinkwich, Georgia, 1959 Billy Cannon, LSU, 1982 Herschel Walker, Georgia, 1985 Bo Jackson, Auburn and 2009 Mark Ingram, Alabama.
Derrick Henry will be officially honored at the 81st annual Heisman Memorial Trophy Dinner Gala on Monday evening, December 14, 2015 at the Marriott Marquis in New York. Among those he thanked included God, family, friends, former youth and high school coaches along with Tide Head Coach Nick Saban, Running Backs Coach Burton Burns, Director of Athletics, Bill Battle, Director of Strength and Conditioning coach Scott Cochran and other University of Alabama officials, professors and the athletic training staff in his emotional acceptance speech. He made special mention of the late Altee Tenpenny, his former Bama teammate who passed away in a single-car accident this past October.
Alabama’s Derrick Henry realized a life-long dream by winning the Heisman Memorial Trophy which annually represents the Outstanding College Football Player in the United States.
Watch and listen to the video of his Saturday post Heisman Trophy press comments.