adidas america Josey ready to prove himself in NFL
COLUMBIA, Mo. Henry Josey was 428 yards away from becoming the most prolific running back in Missouri history when he decided he was done playing college football. One more season with the Tigers could have immortalized Josey as one of the program’s greatest offensive players.
But in the days following his junior season, Josey had to ask himself: Was playing a brutal position for another year in the Southeastern Conference a position that’s increasingly devalued in the NFL worth risking a professional career?
With a young son to support and Mizzou’s most famous surgically repaired knee to protect, Josey decided shortly after the Cotton Bowl to enter the NFL draft, which begins Thursday night and concludes Saturday.
Josey, who has split time the last few months training in Florida and Texas, insists he’ll be happy no matter how the weekend unfolds as long as he gets a chance to make an NFL roster.
“There’s no disappointment in anything I do anymore, because I’ve gotten the opportunity to play this game again,” Josey said in a phone interview. “Just getting drafted will be awesome.”
A year ago, Josey was still months away from launching his comeback season from a 2011 knee injury that could have ended his career. Instead, after missing all of 2012,
he started all 14 games for Mizzou last fall, ran for 1,166 yards sixth most in MU history and scored the most important touchdown of a 12 win season, a 57 yard blast against Texas A on Nov. 30 to clinch the SEC Eastern Division.
Despite a lighter workload than his peers in the record book, Josey finished his career ranked fifth on Mizzou’s career rushing list with 2,771 yards on 395 carries. The four players ahead of him quarterback Brad Smith and running backs Zack Abron, Brock Olivo and Devin West averaged 686 carries for their college careers.
At the NFL combine, Josey won $10,000 from adidas for clocking the fastest 40 yard dash (4.43 seconds) among players wearing the company’s shoes. Only two running backs ran faster times.
But at 5 foot 8 and 195 pounds, Josey figures he’ll have to earn work as a third down back who can catch passes and block pass rushers.
“That’s when all the craziness starts happening with blitzes and stuff,” said Josey,
who will watch the draft this weekend in Angelton, Texas, surrounded by family, including 3 year old son Henry Jr. “That’s something I’m prepared to do.”
To illustrate that point, Josey’s agents produced a five minute video of 2013 plays featuring Josey as a blocker or receiver out of the backfield.
“Instantly, it’s a role I could have, but I definitely don’t go in there saying, ‘Hey, I’m a third down back,'” Josey said. “I’m an every down back, and I’ll prove that as the years go on.”
“I’m just ready for it,
” Josey said. “Football is something I’ve done all my life, and I know how the running back role goes. . I don’t feel like I’ll have a problem playing in the NFL and staying for a long time.”