In which BracketCat counts down the fifth day until the 2021 kickoff with a profile of Kansas State linebacker Ryan Henington.
NOTE: Kansas State has elected to advance players’ classification even though the 2020 season did not affect eligibility. Those who wish to take advantage of this extra year will be listed as a (“super”) senior again after their original eligibility would have been exhausted.
Goal No. 5: BE TOUGH. Mentally and physically.
Redshirt Senior | 6-1 | 218 lbs. | Junction City, Kansas
- Position: Linebacker/Nickelback
- Previous College: None
- Projection: Third-String (LB)/Second-String (NB)
- Status: On Scholarship
Ryan Coy Henington (b. Sept. 19, 1998) is a former walk-on wide receiver-turned-quarterback-turned-defensive back-turned-weakside linebacker from Junction City High School who graduated in May 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in business management.
Thanks to the extra year of COVID eligibility, he still has two years left to play two seasons.
Henington redshirted in 2017 and entered 2018 competing with Hunter Hall for the right to be the third-string quarterback behind Alex Delton and/or Skylar Thompson. He saw time in three games in 2018, primarily on kickoff coverage, and had a tackle against South Dakota.
Henington earned first-team Academic All-Big 12 honors in 2018 and entered 2019 as a scout team and special teams contributor, especially after John Holcombe II, Nick Ast and Jaren Lewis passed him in the battle for primary backup duties behind starter Thompson.
This eventually led to his conversion to the defensive side; he played in seven games in 2019, primarily on special teams, and again was a first-team Academic All-Big 12 honoree.
Henington then played in eight games in 2020 as he began the season at safety prior to transitioning to linebacker. He totaled eight tackles on the year, including a career-high five in the season opener against Arkansas State, and again was first-team Academic All-Big 12.
Henington lettered three years for the Blue Jays under head coach Randall Zimmerman and was named the 2016 Centennial League Offensive Player of the Year, while he was an all-state honoree by The Topeka Capital-Journal, The Wichita Eagle and KPreps.com.
He totaled more than 4,500 career total yards in high school, including during his senior campaign, when he threw for 1,783 yards and rushed for 1,012 yards.
Henington, who now is working on his master of business administration degree, enters 2021 battling with converted safety Wayne Jones for the right to be the “starting” weakside linebacker when K-State lines up in its “big” defensive package, which is basically a 4-3.