Defensive end Shilique Calhoun faced both Alabama running back Derrick Henry and Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott during his senior season at Michigan State, but told reporters on Friday there’s no question which one was tougher to play against.
“I would say definitely Derrick Henry,” Calhoun said, via Michael Casagrande of AL.com. “He’s a bigger guy. He did a great job of falling forward. Pretty much on all of his runs, somehow, some way, he found a way to fall forward. Of course, he’s a bigger guy. I mean, we’re pretty much the same weight and height.”
Calhoun measured in at 6-foot-4, 251 pounds, just four pounds heavier and an inch and a half taller than Henry, who received comparisons to Super Bowl MVP Von Miller on Friday for his size and athleticism.
In his senior season with the Spartans, Calhoun finished with 15 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks, but was on the wrong side of a highlight-reel stiff arm from Henry in the Cotton Bowl.
Henry finished the year as the national leader in rushing yards and touchdowns, and earned the 2015 Heisman Trophy. However, most NFL Draft experts consider Elliott to be the top running back in the class.
On Tuesday, Mike Mayock of NFL Network attributed it to Elliott’s superior “lateral quickness and burst.” Henry finished with an official time of 4.54 seconds in the 40-yard dash on Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine, while Elliott finished with a time of 4.47 seconds.