2022 Season Countdown: #23 A.J. Henning

Tag: A.J. Henning


19Aug 2022
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2022 Season Countdown: #23 A.J. Henning

A.J. Henning (image via Twitter)

Name: A.J. Henning
Height: 
5’10”
Weight: 
185 lbs.
High school: 
Frankfort (IL) Lincoln-Way East
Position: 
Wide receiver
Class: 
Junior
Jersey number: 
#3
Last year: 
I ranked Henning #23 and said he would be a backup wide receiver and starting kick returner with 14 catches for 170 yards and 2 touchdowns (LINK). He caught 10 passes for 79 yards and ran 9 times for 162 yards and 2 touchdowns.
TTB Rating:
 86

Henning had a chance to step up in 2021 after speedy gadget guy Giles Jackson transferred to Washington prior to the season. And Henning didn’t miss a beat. While he didn’t establish himself as a versatile receiver, he became the end around guy and scored on a 74-yard touchdown run in the first game. He also added a kickoff return for a touchdown against Maryland and a touchdown run against Ohio State. Henning also stepped in to replace injured punt returner Ronnie Bell after the coaches initially tried Caden Kolesar in Bell’s stead.

I expect more of the same from Henning in 2022. There’s no reason to expect fewer end arounds or jet sweeps, and his share of the passing targets probably can’t get much smaller. There’s also a good chance that he ends up handling punt returns and/or kickoff returns. I will be interested to see if Bell takes punt return duties back or if that experiment has ended. Overall, Henning can do a little bit of everything – rushing, receiving, punt returning, and kickoff returning – but if he’s not available for some reason, I think there are other guys who can absorb his role without a huge dropoff.

Prediction: Starting kickoff and punt returner, backup wide receiver

17Feb 2022
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Polynesian Bowl participants: Michigan

Oakley (CA) Freedom WR Giles Jackson (image via Oregon Live))

The fourth annual Polynesian Bowl will be played in Honolulu, HI, in January of 2020. Here are the Michigan participants over the years:

2022
Zeke Berry, S – Concord, CA
Mason Graham, DT – Anaheim, CA

2021
J.J. McCarthy, QB – La Grange Park, IL**

2020
Reece Atteberry, C – Aurora, CO
A.J. Henning, WR – Frankfort, IL
Braiden McGregor, DE – Port Huron, MI**
Jordan Morant, S – Oradell, NJ**
Kalel Mullings, LB – Milton, MA
Gregory Tarr, LS – Romeo, MI

2019
Giles Jackson, WR – Freedom, CA

2018
None

2017
Chuck Filiaga, OT – Aledo, TX
Corey Malone-Hatcher, DE – St. Joseph, MI**
Dylan McCaffrey, QB – Littleton, CO
Phillip Paea, DT – Berrien Springs, MI
Joshua Ross, LB – Orchard Lake, MI
Kurt Taylor, RB – Loganville, GA

*Scheduled to play in the upcoming game

**Selected but not participating due to injury/early enrollment

13Oct 2021
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2021 Michigan vs. Nebraska Awards

Daxton Hill (image via ClickOnDetroit)

Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . A.J. Henning. Henning, who is athletic enough to be Michigan’s punt returner, had 0 offensive touches against Nebraska and has 0 catches for the past three weeks.

Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . backup offensive guards. Michigan played five offensive guards due to injuries. The offensive guard position has been a relative weakness for Michigan this year, but nobody is good when they get down to guard #5. I’ve seen worse problems at guard #3 or #4, so this isn’t a glaring weakness, but it would be nice to have some consistency and for somebody to step up and take over both guard positions.

Let’s see more of this guy on defense . . . nobody.

Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . nobody.

Play of the game . . . Brad Hawkins’s forced and recovered fumble against Adrian Martinez. Late in a tied game, Nebraska had the ball and had a chance to drive down the field for a score. Star quarterback Adrian Martinez took off on a rush attempt, and while trying to fight for a first down, he was held up by a couple Michigan defenders. Despite his claims that he was “just standing there” and thought the play was over, he was fighting for extra yardage and driving his feet forward. The whistle wasn’t blown, and Hawkins ripped the ball out. That turned into the game-winning field goal for the Wolverines.

MVP of the game . . . Aidan Hutchinson, Daxton Hill, and Hassan Haskins. Triple H. Hutchinson made 6 tackles and helped keep Martinez in check. Hill made 5 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, and 1 interception, playing solid in coverage and making that 1 ridiculously nice pick. Meanwhile, Haskins churned out yards with 21 carries for 123 yards and 2 touchdowns, including a highlight-reel hurdle over a defender and tons of yards after contact.

30Sep 2021
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2021 Michigan vs. Rutgers Awards

Brad Hawkins

Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . A.J. Henning. Henning has been a decent receiver (3 catches, 36 yards) and an outstanding runner (2 rushes, 100 yards, 1 TD) early in the season, but when push came to shove against Rutgers, the coaching staff almost completely ignored him. His only overall touch was on a punt return, and the only attempt to get him the ball on offense was an early fade route on the outside. Michigan needs to make more of a concerted effort to get guys like Henning the ball on the edge.

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26Sep 2021
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Michigan 20, Rutgers 13

Blake Corum (image via Detroit News)

Well, that was an unexpected nail-biter. I was spot on with my prediction of Rutgers scoring 13 points, but I thought Michigan would have a bit easier time on offense (I predicted 34 points). For two years in a row, Michigan has beaten Rutgers by just one score (they won 48-42 in triple overtime in 2020), and it’s frustrating to an extent that the Wolverines can’t play better despite being significantly more talented, especially on offense. Rutgers has mediocre players on the offensive line, at quarterback, and at tight end, yet they manage to scheme their way to a modicum of success. But a win is a win. We’ve seen these games turn into losses, so I’ll take it for now.

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