It was the year of the multi-sport male prep athlete in 2012-13.
of St. Pius X (Houston)
was the No. 4 pick in the Major League Baseball Draft and he threw for 8,803 career yards and 87 touchdowns as a starting quarterback. He signed with the Houston Astros on Wednesday.
In Florida, Manatee (Bradenton)
quarterback Cord Sandberg
earned a full football scholarship to Mississippi State but instead agreed to a $775,000 signing bonus last week from the Philadelphia Phillies, who picked him in the third round.
Then there was Adam Coon
, the ultimate three-sport standout from Fowlerville (Mich.)
. The 6-foot-5, 260-pound defensive end signed a full ride to Michigan, not to play football but as the nation's No. 2 senior wrestler
according to intermatwrestle.com. Coon also took second place in discus and shot put at the state Division II track and field championships.
That's just a sampling of the versatile elite (see more next page).
But all that took a back seat to one-hit wonder Derrick Henry
, who obliterated one of the country's most cherished and seemingly insurmountable football records with one astounding senior season.
The rugged 6-3, 240-pound tailback from tiny Yulee (Fla.)
rushed a staggering 462 times for 4,261 yards — both state records — to finish his illustrious four-year career with 12,243 yards, the most ever by a high school back.
Henry, who enrolled at Alabama in January, surpassed the 59-year career mark held by Ken Hall
, who rushed for 11,232 yards from 1950 to 1953 for Sugarland (Texas).
For his relentless pursuit and ultimate attainment, Henry is the MaxPreps 2012-13 Male Athlete of the Year.
"The numbers don't lie," Yulee coach Bobby Ramsey said. "He finished his career as the No. 1 rusher of all time. That's right where he belongs. He earned all of it."
See 10 amazing facts about Henry and Ken Hall
For seven different decades, thousands of tailbacks chased that mark, but only Henry, nicknamed "Shocka," caught it and mowed it down during a 41-26 Florida 4A first-round home game win over Taylor County
In vintage Henry form, he broke past two perfectly positioned would-be tacklers, stiff-armed another and sprinted the final 40 yards untouched completing a 52-yard touchdown run with 11 minutes, 16 seconds left in the second quarter that broke the national career rushing yardage record.
He went on to rush a state-record 57 times that night for 485 yards - 20 short of the state mark — and six touchdowns, six of 55 he scored that season. He tacked on almost 1,000 yards to the previous record, meaning it might take another 60 years or so for someone else to break his mark.
"I'm sure someone will break it before too long," Henry said. "But I'm very proud to have my name and my school's name at the top for all the other kids to chase. That means a lot, it really does. … I feel privileged and blessed and thankful. I'm just glad to be a part of history. I think Ken Hall is in a league of his own. I'm just happy my name could be placed up with his."Going off
It wasn't Henry, but fellow Floridian Kelvin Taylor, who seemed to have the best shot at breaking Hall's record before the season.
But Henry went off early, rushing for nearly 900 yards in his first three games before busting loose for a state-record 510 yards and six touchdowns in a 45-28 win over Jackson in week No. 4.
"I think it hit me then that I had a chance to do this," Henry said.
The following week in a head-to-head showdown with Glades Day (Belle Glade, Fla.)
and Taylor before a national television audience, Henry ran for 362 yards and six more scores in a 42-6 win.
He was on his way.
He rushed for more than 300 yards in eight of his team's 13 games and more than 400 yards four times. He carried the ball more than 30 times on 10 different occasions and at least 40 on six occasions.
A model of consistency, Henry furthered his national record to 47 straight games of rushing for at least 100 yards. Those 47 accounted for every game he played in high school.
With a chiseled physique, 4.37-second speed in the 40-yard-dash and the strength to bench press 360 pounds, Henry was the proverbial man among boys.
"He's an absolute rock," Ramsey said. "He never faltered. Always gave 100 percent. And 100 percent of Derrick is pretty amazing." Representing Yulee
Beyond the yards and records, Henry offered loyalty and humility, which shed nothing but a bright and positive light on a small town few knew existed before he arrived.
He could have easily been wooed to larger private schools, such as perennial Jacksonville power Bolles
, but instead he chose to help the reputation of a relatively new school in a place known as a gas station town to pass through to get to Fernandina Beach.
"When I was in the eighth grade, I took a look at the private schools," Henry said. "I imagined myself there, but I couldn't. This is where I was born and raised. I'd been here since I was a little boy. All the sports I played growing up was right here in Yulee.
"I figured I might as well stay put right here and help to put my town on the map and make something out of it."
That made it all the sweeter when he broke Hall's mark in front of the home crowd.
"I've wanted to do it (at home) because people have been so good to me my entire life here," he said. "Every time I go out on Friday night I feel like I'm protecting (Yulee). I try to represent it the right way. This has always felt like home. I just feel like Yulee is a part of me."To see the other multi-sport standouts Henry beat out for the coveted year-end award, see the next page: