Connect with us


Josh Henderson growing in confidence and leadership heading into year two with Indiana football



When Josh Henderson committed to the Indiana football program just over a year ago, he had never been a starter at the college level, or had the pressure of being a leader at his position.

Coming from North Carolina where he had totaled just 41 carries in 23 games, Henderson was looking for a larger role and more responsibilities. After a consistent first year with the Indiana program, he’s stepping up heading into his second fall camp in Bloomington.

“I think Josh has really honed in on being such a strong leader in that room, the way he handles his business as a pro,” Indiana football head coach Tom Allen said over Zoom on Tuesday. “He’s just such an attention-to-detail guy.

“I think there’s confidence just in being in a place for year two. He’s such a steady guy, he’s so consistent, so dependable in every way.”

Henderson is coming off of a season in which he had 90 carries for 398 yards and four touchdowns. He also had 24 receptions for 274 yards and four receiving touchdowns.

Read: Importance of IU football running backs can’t be understated: ‘I want to maximize that room’

Because of his production paired with his experience, his ability to stay on the field was an emphasis for the Indiana staff and Henderson this offseason. A priority was put on his diet and an increased emphasis in the weight room.

He enters this season up 10 pounds from a season ago.

“You just talk to the strength staff, the discipline in his diet, the way he’s put on a lot of good, lean muscle mass to create more of a Big Ten body. He’s always had a good frame on him, but he’s taken it to another level,” Allen said. “… Gotten bigger, stronger, faster.”

His ability to stay disciplined with his body has given him an increased ability to be a three-down back. Henderson has always played in a crowded backfield, but when he’s been on the field he’s always produced.

This season, the expectation is for him to do more. While not the ‘lead’ back per se, taking on more ‘lead’ back tendencies.

“He’s grown in his confidence, his ability to get out there. I just think he’s a guy that you can keep on the field. He’s a three-down back,” Allen added. “He can catch, he can block, he can run. He’s able to just really do whatever he’s got to do the team be successful and win.”

It isn’t just all in skillset where Henderson has improved, however. Part of taking on more responsibility is also taking a larger leadership role.

While being vocal hasn’t always been Henderson’s strength, it comes with the territory. It’s been a step in his development that the coaching staff are excited about and a step that was necessary for the offense.

“He’s a quiet guy, but there’s also the ability to lead that room, to be able to be a great example. When you think about being a great teammate, it’s doing your job, setting that example of being a consistent guy,” Allen said.  “It’s also have the courage to hold your teammates accountable. I think that’s something he’s grown in as well, being able within that group of guys to make sure things are right. You bring in guys, you bring in new players to a certain group, you bring in guys to that side of the ball, and he’s able to be, ‘Hey, this is how we do it here’. Just really feel like he’s just matured and grown in that area.”

Henderson will look to lead one of the more versatile and talented running back rooms that the Indiana football program has had in recent years. It’s a group that has Tom Allen excited and is a group that should spearhead an IU offense looking to become more efficient and explosive in 2023.

SEE ALSO: Receiver, running back, kick returner? All of the above. Jaylin Lucas bringing a well-rounded skillset into year two at Indiana football

Make sure to follow Hoosier Illustrated on Twitter @Indiana_FRN and YouTube to stay up to date on all of the news, updates and coverage of Indiana University athletics. 

Alec Lasley is the owner of Hoosier Illustrated, a comprehensive site covering news, updates and recruiting for Indiana University athletics. Alec has covered Indiana for six years and is a credentialed media member. He has previously worked for both Rivals and 247Sports.