Hayden Henry Wants Last Game as a Razorback to be Winning One

Pig Trail Nation

FAYETTEVILLE — Hayden Henry is one of three outstanding senior linebackers for Arkansas who will try to help the Razorbacks defeat Penn State in Saturday’s Outback Bowl.

Henry is third on the team with 94 tackles, but leads the Hogs with 10.5 for loss. He’s also second on the team with three sacks, one pass breakup and a team-leading seven quarterback hurries. Fellow linebackers Bumper Pool leads the team with 120 tackles and Grant Morgan has 96. Henry says Saturday’s game will be emotional knowing that is the last time he will suit up for the Razorbacks.

“It will be a bittersweet moment,” Henry said. “To be completely honest with you, I’ve accepted the fact that this is over and I think my body has accepted that fact that college football is over after this game. It will be a bittersweet moment. I mean these are some of the best memories of my life. Playing this season especially with Grant and Bumper has been extra special as a lifetime.”

While this is Henry’s final game, how does it feel to end it in Florida in a bowl game particularly after losing seasons leading up to 2021?

“It’s really cool,” Henry said. “The Outback Bowl is a very prestigious bowl. A lot of people know what the Outback Bowl is. There’s always good teams that play in it. This year we’re one of those teams. So I’m excited to get to play against a very prestigious team like Penn State in a very big game in Tampa on New Year’s Day. I think it should be a great environment. I’m excited to show what we can do one more time.”

Sam Pittman is proud of his three senior linebackers and hopes the Hogs can send them out on a good note Saturday.

“Well, I want them to go out in style,” Pittman said. “I think everyone wants their seniors to go out that way.  I’d like to see them make a lot of tackles and play lights out like they have all year and we win the game.  Bowls are fun when you win. But those guys race to the ball, you know. We’re keeping them fresh in there and they are all playing really well. Certainly it’s no secret we’re going to try to get Bumper to come back.  I don’t know if we can or not  but we’re trying. So we’ll see.”

Henry talked about the grind on the body getting ready to play each week.

“It’s tough,” Henry said. “I get used to it a little bit I think. Just kind of always having the aches and bruises everywhere. I don’t know. Your body can adapt and gets used to it, but it does get tired and worn down. Twelve games in our league can definitely hurt your body and break you pretty good. We had some time off. I feel a lot better right now. I really do. I feel great. So, I’m excited.”

One thing that has helped Henry as well as Morgan and Pool is with three equally talented linebackers each of them gets to rotate in during the game thus not requiring them to have to play every snap.

“It helped a lot,” Henry said. “One thing I think it helped with most was on long drives when we could sub each other in. Because in the past, it’s basically you’re just out there for the whole drive. You have to stay in. So, we did a really good job of rotations. Grant would come in or Bumper would come in, and we’d all stay fresh so we’re not out there playing tired. I think that was something that was a really big advantage for us with having all three of us that could play. There was never really a point we weren’t out there feeling fresh. If we were tired, one guy was getting subbed out. So, it was really beneficial for us.”

This season Arkansas has defeated Texas and four SEC opponents. Henry admitted one of those wins was the highlight of the season for him.

“The highlight of my season was beating LSU just because when I was growing up, we lived in Atlanta, and we used to come back every Thanksgiving and watch LSU play the Hogs,” Henry said. “It was at War Memorial a lot of times. That game was so special to me. Definitely the highlight of my season getting to win the Boot finally and beat LSU.”

Shiloh Christian linebacker Kaden Henley practiced with the Razorbacks the final week on campus. He signed with Arkansas on Dec. 15 and will enroll next month. Henry was impressed with Henley.

“Yeah, he’s doing great.” Henry said. “He’s a good kid. He’s got a good head on his shoulders. You can tell he’s really interested in learning the scheme and being around the guys, being in the locker room.  I’m really happy he chose to spend four days with us when he could be at home with his family spending time with them and he wouldn’t be here practicing and stuff.”

Arkansas and Penn State will meet at 11 a.m. (CT) on Saturday morning in the Outback Bowl. The game will be televised on ESPN2.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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