Nobody knows who will quarterback the Florida State football team in 2016, but Malik Henry is already in Tallahassee, by way of Long Beach (CA's) Polytechnic High School, and this spring, he'll begin making his case. Henry (6'3, 185), one of the top quarterback prospects in the country, committed to FSU over Notre Dame and UCLA, while also holding offers from Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, USC, Auburn, Texas, and Tennessee, among others. Henry visited the Bruins, Irish, and Wolverines, along with the Seminoles, while also camping with the Buckeyes, Spartans, and 'Noles before committing to FSU in November of 2014.
All four of the major recruiting services have Henry ranked as a four-star prospect. ESPN has Henry as its No. 2 dual-threat quarterback, as does Rivals, while 247sports deems him the nation's fourth-best pro-style quarterback. Scout, which does not differentiate between the two, simply rates him the No. 8 QB prospect in the 2016 class. His composite ranking (which combines all of the above), via 247, places him at a four-star pro-style QB, the No. 4 QB in that category, nationally. Yet it's worth noting that Henry and future Ole Miss QB Shea Patterson looked to be the most college-ready signal callers in the Under Armour and US Army All-American games played in early January.
And while the odds of Henry starting in his true freshman year as a 'Nole may be somewhat long, he's not without the tools to offer a worthwhile challenge to fifth-year senior Sean Maguire, third-year man J.J. Cosentino, and redshirt-freshman Deondre Francois.
So here's a look at Henry from the feet up. Henry has efficient footwork, including an appropriately wide stance from which he delivers, but not one to which he gets cemented too often. He moves in the pocket quite well, and although he's not a dynamic runner of the football, he evades tacklers effectively and keeps his head up while he moves around in the pocket. When he does get upfield, he doesn't try to do too much, getting what yardage he can and then using the sidelines appropriately to avoid big hits.
In his core, Henry rotates well through his throws, driving exceptionally well off his back leg to get power into his passes. Moving up, he usually carries the ball high, which is something former 'Nole Jameis Winston continued to work on throughout his time at FSU.
Regarding his arm, Henry has a quick release to go with that power, and, perhaps most importantly, has a knack for anticipating open receivers by throwing to a spot, an absolute prerequisite to excelling in Jimbo Fisher's pro-style offense. He's unafraid in doing so, as Henry's quite proficient hitting on slants as well as out routes to the short-side of the field. He's also adept between the ears, showing strong judgment on read-options.
All said, Henry is a fantastic addition to this FSU football team, and it's easy to see why Fisher wanted him in this class. If you'd like to follow Henry on Twitter, you can do so here.