Derrick Henry congratulates Kayleb Wagner on Florida rushing record
Kayleb Wagner made Florida high school football history last Friday, shattering Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry’s single-game rushing record with a 535-yard, six-touchdown performance in a Baker High School victory.
Wagner’s performance made national headlines and his story has served as an inspiration to people across the nation. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound junior running back was born without a left hand and part of his left forearm due to amniotic band syndrome and has still been able to dominate on the gridiron while also serving as a role model in his community.
Wagner has received countless congratulatory messages since etching his name into Florida’s high school football record book, but one stands out above all else. Henry, a former star at Yulee High School, himself reached out to Wagner on Instagram to congratulate him on breaking his record — one that had stood for nearly a decade.
“We went back and forth for five minutes or so,” Wagner told MaxPreps. “He congratulated me, said he would send me a pair of his cleats and game gloves. It was very, very cool. I think it really hit me then that I had the record.”
Wagner has been on an absolute tear since the beginning of Baker’s season, as rushed for 267 yards and four touchdowns on just four carries in its season opener against Rocky Bayou Christian. Wagner burst onto the scene for Baker as a sophomore, helping the program to a perfect 15-0 record and state championship with over 1,000 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns. Wagner starred in Baker’s state title game, rushing for 152 yards and a touchdown.
Baker is not the biggest high school in Florida, but it has a larger-than-life player and person in Wagner in the building. When he’s not busy running through defenders, Wagner volunteers his time to numerous school clubs and community organizations. He also mentors youths, including a group of fifth grades.
As special as it was for him to hear from Henry, receiving congratulations from the kids he works with every day stands out to Wagner as the most memorable moment of them all.
“All these kids gave me a standing ovation,” Wagner said. “I love kids. I love them looking up to me to be a role model. It was really special.”