The adjustment from high school star to college quarterback has not been an easy one for Malik Henry.
Understatement of the century.
Henry washed out at Florida State after one season before taking a starring role in the Netflix series “Last Chance U” a year ago. But the high profile granted by his right place-right time position at Independence Community College wasn’t exactly a win.
Henry often came across as soft and entitled, clashing with ICC head coach Jason Brown—which is defensible if only because Brown is kind of a joke. Personality flaws aside, Henry struggled to get traction on the field, as well, posting mostly average numbers on a team that, by most accounts, failed to live up to lofty expectations.
In January, Henry’s last ‘last chance’ was granted in the form of a walk-on spot at Nevada, which flew almost completely beneath the radar.
Maybe it shouldn’t have.
The Wolfpack quarterback room is devoid of a sure-fire starter and, on multiple occasions this spring, head coach Jay Norvell has spoken to the team’s need for someone anyone to step forward and take control of his team.
“We need a guy to take charge," Norvell said recently. "We need somebody who earns the right to be our quarterback every single day by he way they work, and the summer is a big part of that.”
Safe to say Henry took big steps in that direction during the Wolfpack’s spring game on Saturday.
(S/O to Overtime for bringing their iPhone to Reno.)
Henry completed 16-of-28 passes for a game-high 211 yards and a pair of scores—the second of which was an absolute dime to Romeo Doubs.
“I really just have to stay in the playbook, stay around my guys,” Henry said after the game. “Working on timing routes, make sure we all have great chemistry. If we do that I think we’ll go out there and be a well-oiled machine. We’ll be able to flow, the offense will be running smoothly. I think we just need more time together.”
Update on Malik Henry after the Nevada Spring Game pic.twitter.com/jRbxBn5ngN— Last Chance U (@LastChanceUAlum) April 29, 2019
To win the job, Henry will need to beat out sixth-year senior Cristian Solano. If he doesn’t, simply sticking around Reno for multiple seasons would be an improvement on his performances elsewhere to this point.
Henry was the fourth-rated pocket passer by 247Sports in the class of 2016. He was gone from Florida State in December of that year, then left Independence after just two games in his second season with the Pirates.