Editor’s note: It’s a make-or-break year for Kevin Sumlin in his fifth season as coach of Texas A&M. His staff is loaded with experience and the roster is arguably the most talented it has been since his arrival in 2012.
During the next few weeks, SEC Country takes a look at the 25 most important Aggies who will determine whether Texas A&M is destined for success or doomed for failure in 2016.
No. 18: Zaycoven Henderson, DT
Henderson enrolled at Texas A&M early 2014. The Longview, Texas, native saw action in 11 games during his first year on the field and made five tackles during his first career start against LSU.
Henderson truly began to emerge as a talent in 2015, coinciding with the arrival of defensive coordinator John Chavis. Henderson played another 11 games last season but increased his season tackle total from 13 to 28.
Henderson developed the ability to not only create pressure but also penetrate the offensive line and bring down the ball-carrier, evidenced by his recording 6.5 tackles for loss and three sacks.
Headed into his junior season, the 6-foot-1, 300-pound tackle continues to battle for a starting spot on the defensive line. Sophomores Daylon Mack and Kingsley Keke are in contention to start on the interior, but those two and Henderson should all see plenty of action during the season opener against UCLA.
The most important goal for the line in 2016 will be to contain when possible, rather than go for the home run play. Until the linebacker unit can further solidify itself, it will be imperative for the line to provide as much help as possible in preventing the big plays.
Henderson should help A&M do just that. Working in combination with defensive ends Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall, he should be a key piece on one of the best defensive lines in college football.
Check out previous entries from this series below, and be sure to bookmark SEC Country’s Texas A&M Facebook page and return daily to see the newest names on the list.
Up next: A senior offensive lineman