Vanderbilt sophomore running back Keyon Henry-Brooks announced via Twitter on Wednesday morning that he will be entering the transfer portal, presumably ending his Vanderbilt football career after two seasons. Henry-Brooks rushed for 252 yards on 56 carries and a touchdown as Ke’Shawn Vaughn’s primary backup in 2019, then became Vanderbilt’s leading rusher in 2020, rushing for 494 yards and two touchdowns on 120 carries; he also caught 28 passes for 258 yards last season.
Henry-Brooks’ status as the team’s leading rusher came in spite of the sophomore missing three games during the 2020 season. He missed the first two games of the season, then missed the Florida game in November due to an unspecified injury. He was capable of being a workhorse when called upon — rushing for 121 yards on 29 carries, both season highs, at Kentucky on November 14.
With all of this said, there’s a bit of a subtext here. Henry-Brooks’ 4.1 yards per carry average wasn’t great, granted some of that was on an inexperienced offensive line, but Vanderbilt got similar production out of redshirt sophomore Ja’Veon Marlow (46 carries for 186 yards in 2020) and the Commodores are also bringing in Temple transfer Re’Mahn Davis (271 carries, 1259 yards, 9 touchdowns in two seasons with the Owls), as well as signees Dylan Betts-Pauley and Patrick Smith, and they’ll also return reserve running back Rocko Griffin (37 carries for 92 yards as a true freshman.) In other words, the running back room was getting awfully crowded, and while it’s hardly ideal to lose your leading rusher out of that group — well, it also seems like Vanderbilt could probably find similar production in 2021 from a number of other candidates at the position.