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OSU football: Senior linebacker Kevin Henry healthy and working to make an impact

STILLWATER — Two Augusts ago, Kevin Henry was an energetic sophomore carving out his role as a linebacker in the Oklahoma State defense.

But September 2017 brought a freak ACL tear during practice prior to the second game of the year.

Now as his redshirt senior season grows closer, Henry is working his way back into an impactful spot for the Cowboys.

Halfway through spring practice, Henry has been playing both the inside and outside linebacker positions in coordinator Jim Knowles’ defense, building on the growth Henry showed late last season.

His usage gradually grew down the stretch last fall, to the point that Henry earned the start in place of injured outside linebacker Calvin Bundage at the Liberty Bowl.

“Kevin came on at the end of the year, and this gives us a chance to really put the mantle on him and see how much he can take playing a primary role,” Knowles said. “He’s a really passionate guy who brings some energy to our defense.”

A 6-foot, 239-poud native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Henry has the size to play the middle and the speed to be a weapon on the outside.

Returning from the ACL injury, it took him some time last season to get his speed back to what he’s used to.

“It’s been a minute since I been 100 (percent),” Henry said of his health. “Now that I’m over it and up and going again, I feel like I can conquer the world mentally. I feel like the injuries I’ve had made me grow as a person.”

Henry’s injury rehab, overlapping with the coordinator change in January 2018, put him behind the curve in trying to get on the field, but as the Big 12 season wore on, Knowles began to use him more regularly, especially in pass coverage situations to take advantage of his speed in space.

“He’s done well out here,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said. “He’s gonna be a guy who rotates in. We like to play two-deep on defense. You generally have a group that’s gonna play 25 plays and the other group is gonna play 45 or 50, and he falls into that category.”

Related Photos
<strong>Oklahoma State's Kevin Henry (33) worked his way into a bigger role late last season, and continues to show his improvement in the spring. [NATE BILLINGS/THE OKLAHOMAN]</strong>

Oklahoma State's Kevin Henry (33) worked his way into a bigger role late last season, and continues to show his improvement in the spring. [NATE BILLINGS/THE OKLAHOMAN]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-871bf12772d8d514c17ab780f90d7cde.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma State's Kevin Henry (33) worked his way into a bigger role late last season, and continues to show his improvement in the spring. [NATE BILLINGS/THE OKLAHOMAN] " title=" Oklahoma State's Kevin Henry (33) worked his way into a bigger role late last season, and continues to show his improvement in the spring. [NATE BILLINGS/THE OKLAHOMAN] "><figcaption> Oklahoma State's Kevin Henry (33) worked his way into a bigger role late last season, and continues to show his improvement in the spring. [NATE BILLINGS/THE OKLAHOMAN] </figcaption></figure>
Scott Wright

A lifelong resident of the Oklahoma City metro area, Scott Wright has been on The Oklahoman staff since 2005, covering a little bit of everything on the state's sports scene. He has been a beat writer for football and basketball at Oklahoma and... Read more ›

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