Dom Henry is the most recent commitment to the BYU football program (Class of 2022), announcing his commitment yesterday via Twitter:
— Dom Henry (@Dom1Henry) January 31, 2022
Henry is a 5-foot-11 170 pound wide receiver that preps at Nease High School (Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida), where as a senior he led the state of Florida in receiving yards with 81 receptions, for 1590 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also completed 3-of-3 passes for 17 yards and a touchdown, rushed 14 times for 65 yards and a touchdown, had three kickoff returns for 121 yards, and four punt returns for 101 yards and a touchdown (MaxPreps).
Henry helped Nease from back-to-back one-win seasons to winning three playoff games and making it to the Region 1-7A finals his senior year. And he scored a touchdown in each of the playoff games. Henry was named the All-News4Jax offensive player of the year, the Class 7A runner-up for Player of the Year, an All-Area and All-County first-team receiver, the SBLive wide receiver of the year (beating out 4-star Georgia commit Pearce Spurlin), and a first-team All-State honoree. While he led Florida in receiving yards, he also had the 16th most receiving yards for wide receivers nationally.
He’s also been clocked running a 4.46 forty and his break-away speed is apparent when you watch his highlights (shown at the end of this article).
So how on earth did he slide under-the-radar?
Henry is rated 3-stars by 247Sports. He holds scholarship offers from Air Force, Army, and BYU… and that’s where his list of scholarship offers ends.
True, there are also offers from teams you’ve never heard of (like Lenoir-Rhyne, Missouri Valley, Morehead State, New Hampshire, and Robert Morris), but absent are the P5 offers you’d expect from someone with a high 3-star rating.
There are three plausible factors that may have held Henry back from getting more hype: size, school affiliation, and injury.
1. Henry could be considered undersized.
Henry’s listed height of 5-10.5 might be a part of the problem.
Ben Criddle of ESPN 960 asked Henry about his recruitment and if size might be a factor. Henry’s response was “To be honest I’m not really sure… At first, I thought it was size, but I’m 5-11. I thought that was decent enough, but putting up those stats I’m not really sure the reason why.”
The reality is that most of BYU’s star receivers are a little taller, with Puka Nacua and Gunner Romney both sitting at 6-foot-2, Brayden Cosper at 6-foot-3, and Keanu Hill, Samson Nacua, Neil Pau’u, and Chase Roberts all at 6-foot-4. And most of the top receivers in the 2022 national recruiting class (according to 247 sports) are 6-feet or taller.
But not all. No. 70 recruit Caleb Burton (a 4-star commit) is just 6-foot-0 and 165 pounds, while no. 71 recruit Kevin Coleman is 5-foot-11, 170. However, it’s interesting to note that the 6-foot receiver (Burton) is committed to P5 Ohio State, while the identically ranked 5-foot-11 receiver (Coleman) is committed to up-and-coming program Jackson State.
The truth is that shorter receivers have a harder time getting big-time scholarship offers.
Fortunately, there are plenty of receivers at Henry’s size that have gone on to have incredible football careers. Think T.Y. Hilton of the Colts, Tyreek Hill of the Chiefs, Julian Edelman of the Patriots, and Antonio Brown of the Steelers. All are under six-feet, and all have at least three seasons of 1,000 or more receiving yards in the NFL.
AND each of those NFL stars were under-recruited in college. Hilton played at Florida International, Hill at West Alabama, Edelman for Kent State, and Brown played at Central Michigan. BYU would have been the top scholarship offer for all four of those star players if they had offered.
There is definitely a bias against recruiting receivers under six-feet. And BYU has turned that to their favor by recruiting Dom Henry.
2. The Nease Panthers are rebuilding.
As was noted earlier, Nease high school won only two total games throughout the 2019 and 2020 seasons. The reality is that when your school doesn’t win, scouts don’t come to the games. It does not matter if you are going through “rebuilding” years. Scouts typically watch winners.
Now, the Nease Panthers did have a fantastic season in 2021 as Henry was leading the state in receptions. And that did bring some scouts out to their games. But the scouts were from regional and G5 programs like Air Force, Army, Navy, Costal Carolina, and Central Florida… places where some of Henry’s teammates have committed. Nease is in the process of building back up their reputation and P5 programs are not yet regular attendees at the games.
Fortunately, the Nease coaching staff is working hard to change that. Indeed, the reason Dom Henry landed a BYU offer is because his film was sent out to the top programs around the country, including BYU. And what BYU saw was enough to bring Henry out for an official visit.
3. Injury scare.
News4Jax, who named Henry their 2021 offensive player of the year, noted that Henry started the 2021 season coming off a hip injury.
That explains the jump in production from 2020 to 2021. In his junior season Henry had a respectable
40 receptions for 435 yards and three touchdowns. But that would not be enough to bring out the top scouts. Combine that with an injury scare and there was no reason to expect a break out senior season.
But that is exactly what happened.
Henry had an outstanding senior campaign. He ended his prep career with 131 receptions for 2175 yards and 20 touchdowns without a single fumble. And he has been clocked running a 4.4 forty time twice. Henry is a leader on and off the field. And his efforts are starting to be recognized.
BYU is fortunate that Henry was kept under-the-radar for so long, and Henry is lucky that BYU found him (and that they have a great track record for developing NFL talent). He will have plenty of scouts and fans watching him from here on out.
Welcome to cougar nation Dom!