When University of Memphis freshman quarterback Seth Henigan arrived on campus in the spring of 2021, the Denton, Texas native found himself at the bottom of the depth chart. He quickly realized that for him to make a name for himself, he would have to put in the work. Nothing much would come easy for him, but for a guy with the expectations of Henigan’s, overcoming the odds was not something that was new to him.
“During my recruitment, head coach Ryan Silverfield and offensive coordinator Kevin Johns really showed that they wanted me here,” Henigan said. “Their persistence and staying on me during the process really impressed me, and I also knew Memphis featured an offense that I could thrive in.”
A three-star recruit out of Denton Ryan High School, Henigan came to campus with a workman’s mentality. He understood that despite being placed behind some experienced quarterbacks on the depth chart, his opportunity would come if he played well.
“I started off slow coming into spring ball, but I quickly caught up and began splitting time with Keilon Brown at the backup quarterback position,” he said. “However, the coaches told me I could seize the starting position if I earned it, and that’s what ultimately ended up happening.”
With Arizona transfer Grant Gunnell being sidelined due to injury for the foreseeable future shortly before the season opener, Henigan saw an opportunity to capitalize on his new role. Becoming the first true freshman quarterback to start a season opener in Tigers history on Sept. 4, Henigan carved up the Nicholls State defense. He passed for 265 yards and 2 touchdowns, leading Memphis to a 42-17 victory.
His performance against Arkansas State superseded even his own expectations, as Henigan threw for another 417 yards and five scores. Memphis prevailed in a shootout with the Red Wolves, emerging victorious 55-50. Despite Henigan’s emergence on the scene, and the hype the team is receiving in part of his play so far, Henigan maintains that same mentality he possessed while slowly working his way up the depth chart: humility.
“The chemistry I have developed with my receivers has certainly helped me on the field, and having the talent around me gives the chance to help build and develop something special”, he said.
In addition, Henigan credits Coach Silverfield and Coach Johns for having the belief in him that he could get the job done at a high level. For him, performance is key, and for a guy who played under his father at the high school level, he’s used to playing with high expectations on his shoulders.
However, that fails to rattle the 18-year-old quarterback.
“I am grateful to be in the position that I am, and one thing that I am focused on doing is getting better every week at what I do, and continuing to help lead the team to wins.”
Seth Henigan prepares to throw a pass during the team's season opener against Nicholls State. He is the university's first true-freshman starting quarterback.