E.J. Henderson NFL Bio

The official NFL draft bio on linebacker E.J. Henderson, who the Vikings tabbed as the top linebacker in the draft.

Eric "E.J." Henderson
Middle/Outside Linebacker
University of Maryland Terrapins
Aberdeen, Maryland

Strong athlete with good quickness, balance, agility and body control…Learns schemes easily and calls defensive assignments…Very strong and physical with his hands, using them with force to shed as he does not allow blockers to get into his body…Has superb field vision and anticipation skills, showing a smooth change of direction as he flows to the play…Has excellent sideline range, using his instinctive nature to get an explosive jump on the ball… Shows above average hand reflexes to deflect the pass or intercept the ball…Has the speed to cover the tight ends and slot receivers, showing determination and awareness in zone coverage…Very disruptive on the blitz, powering through blocks while generating a quick closing burst on the quarterback…Above average inline tackler who follows through his hits with power…Contributes on special teams, serving as the right guard on the punt unit…Has the quickness to play outside…Attacks the line well…Stout and leveraged at the point of attack, showing the strength needed to stack and control blocks…The most decorated defensive player in school history, E.J. boasts a mantelpiece filled with trophies from his Terps career…The Butkus Award (nation's top linebacker) and Bednarik Trophy (top defensive player in college) winner is a strong, agile defender with an uncanny knack for getting to the ball…Finished his career with 473 tackles (329 solos), 17.5 sacks for minus 107 yards and 62.5 stops for losses of 207 yards while starting 36 of 46 games…His 473 tackles are topped only by Eric Wilson's 481 (1981-84) on the school's career-record list…His 62.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage broke the old school all-time record of 45 by Aaron Thompson (1998-2001) while his 207 yards in losses surpassed the previous Maryland career mark of 206 yards by Mike Corvino (1979-82)…His 17.5 sacks rank eighth in Terps annals.

Consensus All-American and unanimous All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team choice… Named National Defensive Player of the Year by The NFL Draft Report…Winner of the Butkus Award and Bednarik Trophy…Named ACC Defensive Player of the Year…Team Most Valuable Player…Joined Ratcliff Thomas (1993-95) to lead the team in tackles in three straight seasons as he posted 175 tackles (135 solos) with 8.5 sacks for minus 49 yards, 19.5 stops for losses of 86 yards and eight quarterback pressures…His 175 hits rank fourth on the school's season-record list while his 19.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage rank third…Intercepted two passes and deflected four others…Also caused three fumbles.

Notre Dame…Posted 16 tackles with a stop behind the line of scrimmage and caused a fumble.
Akron…Had a 12-yard interception return and a 2-yard sack.
Florida State…Tackled tailback Greg Jones, causing a fumble on the play and was in on 11 hits (9 solos).
Eastern Michigan…Registered 11 tackles (8 solos) with a stop behind the line of scrimmage.
Wofford…Collected 15 tackles (11 solos) with a 7-yard sack and 2 stops for minus 14 yards.
West Virginia…Had another 15 tackles (14 solos) with 1.5 sacks for minus 9 yards and 3 stops for losses of 10 yards.
Georgia Tech…Made 2 stops behind the line of scrimmage and 10 tackles.
Duke…Added a 7-yard sack and 9 tackles (7 solos).
North Carolina State…Posted 16 tackles (9 solos) and 2 stops for minus 5 yards.
Clemson…Sacked QB Willie Simmons for a 6-yard loss, deflected a pass and made 12 tackles (10 solos).
Virginia…Credited with a 19-tackle (15 solos) performance.
Wake Forest…Delivered another 19 tackles (16 solos), including a 9-yard sack of QB Cory Randolph (caused a fumble on the play, resulting in a safety), had 2 stops for losses of 12 yards and an 8-yard interception return.
Tennessee (Peach Bowl)…Closed out his career by sacking QB Casey Clausen twice for minus 9 yards, adding 4 stops for losses of 23 yards, a pass deflection, a forced fumble and 12 solo tackles.

Became Maryland's first consensus All-American first-team choice since J.D. Maarleveld in 1985…All-ACC first-team pick and became only the fourth Terp to earn ACC Player of the Year honors (also named Defensive Player of the Year), joining Bernie Faloney (1953), Bob Pellegrini (1955) and Randy White (1974)...One of three finalists for the Dick Butkus Award…led the ACC in tackles (150) and stops for loss (28)...Ranked seventh nationally with 13.64 tackles per game and second in the NCAA with 9.45 solo stops per outing…His 28 stops behind the line of scrimmage were the most in a single season in school history, breaking the old mark of 24 set by Randy White in 1974...That total was also second most in the nation…Named the ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week six times, the most of any ACC defender...The team's leading tackler in every game except Virginia...Finished with 150 tackles (103 solos), six sacks for minus 40 yards, 28 stops for losses of 76 yards and seven quarterback pressures…Recovered a fumble and caused two others…Blocked two kicks…Deflected four passes and intercepted another.

North Carolina State…Led the team with a career-high 20 tackles (13 solos)...Also totaled a sack, 3 stops for losses and forced a fumble.
Clemson…Registered 17 tackles (13 solos) and two sacks to go along with an interception...The four stops behind the line of scrimmage broke Randy White's school record.
Troy State…Had 10 tackles, blocked a punt and recorded a sack for minus 11 yards...Also had 2 stops for losses of 12 yards and a pass break-up.
Florida State...Collected a team-high 13 tackles (9 solos) and led the Terps with 2 quarterback hurries and also had a stop for minus three yards.
Duke...Paced the defense with 12 tackles (10 solos) and had 2 stops behind the line of scrimmage.
Georgia Tech…Registered 18 tackles (13 solos) and scored the game's first touchdown on a 36-yard fumble recovery...Also had an important sack to force Tech into a field goal after being inside the Terps' 10 late in the first half...Tech later missed that field goal attempt to end the half...Also led the team with four stops for minus 11 yards and 3 pressures.
Virginia…Finished with 5 tackles...Also blocked a field goal.
West Virginia…Collected 18 tackles (14 solos) and had a sack for minus 12 yards.
Wake Forest…Led the team with 17 tackles (11 solos) and 3 stops for loss (minus nine yards).
North Carolina…Had 12 tackles (8 solos) to go along with 3 stops for losses.
Florida (Orange Bowl)…Totaled 8 tackles (6 solos) and an assisted sack.

Started 10 games at strongside inside linebacker…Led the team and ranked seventh in the Atlantic Coast Conference with 109 tackles (70 solos), including two sacks for minus 14 yards, six quarterback pressures and 13 stops for losses of 40 yards…Deflected four passes and recovered a fumble.

Georgia Tech…Had a season-high 18 tackles (10 solos) with 2 stops for losses.
Temple…Registered 13 hits (9 solos) and a sack.
West Virginia and Virginia…Totaled 11 tackles in each game.
Duke…Batted away a pass and had 16 tackles (9 solos) with 2 stops for losses.

Played in eleven games, starting vs. Florida State and Virginia…Recorded 39 tackles (21 solos) with a sack and two stops behind the line of scrimmage.

Redshirted as a freshman.

4.83 in the 40-yard dash…375-pound bench press…33-inch vertical jump…32 3/4-inch arm length…10-inch hands…Right-handed.

Attended Aberdeen (Md.) High…Four-year starter and 1998 graduate…Played on four league championship teams...Started at middle linebacker/running back his last three years after starting at outside linebacker as a freshman...Senior honors included All-American recognition from Prep Star and honorable mention All-American from USA Today, first-team All-County (Aegis, Sporting Times), and first-team All-Metro (Baltimore Sun) accolades...Named Harford County Male Athlete of the Year by the Aegis newspaper and played on teams that compiled a four-year record of 36-7, winning or sharing county championships all four seasons and capturing a regional title in ‘96...As a senior, he made 148 tackles, six sacks and three fumble recoveries in addition to rushing for 1127 yards and 15 touchdowns from the running back position...Nominated to play in the Chesapeake Classic all-star game and was selected to the Mason-Dixon Shrine Classic...All-County (Aegis, Sporting Times) selection in basketball...Coached by Kevin Reilly.

Graduated in May, 2002, with a degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice…Son of Quinette and Eric Henderson...Born Eric N. Henderson on 8/03/80…Resides in Abderdeen, Maryland.

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