Michigan loses defensive lineman to NFL draft
Willie Henry has announced he is leaving Michigan to enter the NFL draft.
Henry, a 6-3, 307-pound defensive lineman who can play end or tackle, shared the news on Twitter.
He thanked both former coach Brady Hoke and current coach Jim Harbaugh in his announcement.
Hoke signed Henry as a three-star prospect from noted Ohio State talent pipeline Cleveland Glenville in 2012.
After showing flashes of his ability in 12 total starts during his redshirt freshman and sophomore seasons, Henry had his best year in 2015.
He was second on the team with 10 tackles for loss and tied Chris Wormley for the team lead with 6.5 sacks.
His best game came against Michigan State, when he had three tackles for loss, including two sacks.
Henry was an honorable mention All-Big Ten pick, but he might begin the process as an under-the-radar prospect, as he was coming out of high school.
He has displayed impressive explosiveness and athleticism for his size, though, and could fit in a variety of defensive systems in the NFL, so he could move up prospect lists quickly with a strong showing at the NFL combine and/or his pro day.
For the most part, Michigan had good fortune when it came to players entering the 2016 NFL draft early.
Ten Michigan starters were true seniors or fourth-year juniors, but Henry appears to be the only one who plans to leave early.
Among the standouts who chose to stay for their senior seasons are Big Ten Tight End of the Year Jake Butt and All-Big Ten cornerback Jourdan Lewis.