It might be easier to win the lottery than to become a football star. Only 7.3% of high school football players make it onto a college team. Only 1.6% of college players then make it to the NFL. But every now and then, a player emerges who has the potential to beat the odds. Malik Henry is the Last Chance U star quarterback.
He surged to popular memory by starring in two seasons of the Netflix show. He captivated audiences with his football talent. Yet his star has faded.
How did Malik Henry grow up? What was his college career like? Where is he now, and what are his chances of making the NFL?
Answer these questions and you can get a greater appreciation for the challenges of college football. Here is your Malik Henry biography.
Malik Henry’s Life in California and Florida
Malik Henry was born to Marchell Henry and his wife on July 7, 1998. He grew up in Long Beach, California, which is located near Los Angeles.
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His childhood was turbulent. Marchell was absent from Malik’s childhood for many years, and Malik hopped between several different high schools.
But from an early age, Henry showed talent as an athlete. In middle school, he focused on football. In the eighth grade, he transitioned to baseball and showed potential as a pitcher.
As high school went on, Henry decided to return to football. His experience on the pitcher’s mound helped him improve his speed and flexibility. He showed talent in throwing balls quickly and angling his body to execute passes.
As he began to consider his college options, his father returned. Marchell helped Malik make his decision about who to commit to, and he remained in Malik Henry’s life ever since. Malik does speak to his mother, but she declined a role in Last Chance U.
Several colleges tried to recruit Henry, but he committed to Florida State. In 2016, he went to Florida to finish high school at IMG Academy.
Henry was supposed to receive training from Heisman Award-winning quarterback Chris Weinke, but Weinke left IMG Academy. Henry also decided to leave just five months after he arrived.
Life at College
Henry began his college life at Florida State in 2016. Rumors reached the coaching staff at Florida that Henry was arrogant and distant. Nonetheless, the coaches were keen to put the young man on the field.
Before he could get a chance to show his skills, Henry was suspended for violating team rules. The coaches decided to give the quarterback position to another student, and Henry opted to transfer. He later stated on Last Chance U that he was suffering from depression and needed a new environment.
He left Florida State with fewer options than when he entered. But Jason Brown, the head coach at Independence Community College, was willing to take a chance with him. Brown recruited Henry and gave him the primary quarterback position.
Seasons three and four of Last Chance U capture Henry during his sophomore and junior years. Many episodes show Henry arguing with Brown. Despite these disputes, Independence Community College had a 9-2 record during the 2017 season.
This proved to be the highlight of Henry’s college career. Brown benched Henry through most of the 2018 season.
Independence wound up finishing 2-8. Shortly after the season, Brown was fired for sending an inappropriate text to a student. Henry opted to leave Independence in 2019 as well.
He transferred to the University of Nevada, a Division I school. But he appeared in three games, starting for two of them. He passed for 593 yards, throwing only one touchdown and four interceptions.
In October, Henry was removed from the team for academic reasons. He dropped out of school entirely and did not return to college football.
Where Is Malik Henry Now?
After graduating, Henry was not scooped up by a team. News websites speculated that his football career was over.
In June 2021, Henry’s fortunes turned around. He signed up with the Indoor Football League, playing for the Frisco Fighters. He is one of three quarterbacks on their roster.
As of this writing, Henry has not played a game for the Fighters. The Indoor Football League season has just started, and the team is promoting Henry as an important talent.
Where Could He Go From Here?
Henry is 22 years old, so he still has time to make it to the NFL. The Indoor Football League is very obscure, but some recruiters may watch games. At a minimum, participating in the league will keep Henry in shape and give him a chance to show his potential.
But Henry has his work cut out for him. He needs to improve his social skills and interactions with coaches. If he proves too distant, recruiters will not be interested.
He must increase his touchdown rates. He can throw for yardage, but his time in Nevada suggests he struggles to reach the endzone. He should work with his coaches on longer plays.
He should plan on staying with the Frisco Fighters long-term. If he bounces around the Indoor Football League, recruiters will see him as unreliable.
Henry’s egotistical portrayal in Last Chance U certainly does not help his chances. But he can make a positive impact.
Mental health in sports has recently gained prominence. World-class tennis star Naomi Osaka pulled out of the French Open due to concerns about her anxiety. Molly Qerim and others have praised Osaka’s actions.
Henry can discuss his experience with depression and serve as a role model for others. This gives him an opportunity to reshape his pre-existing image. He could reinvent himself as an activist, and he could show a more human side for potential recruiters.
Stay on Top Of Sports
Malik Henry showed talent from an early age, especially in football. But he bounced between several different high schools. He went to Florida State University, only to run into conflicts with coaches.
He transferred to Independence Community College and feuded with the head coach. He transferred again to the University of Nevada and played three games.
He is now a quarterback for the Frisco Fighters. He can make the NFL, but only if he is very lucky.
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