As the top high school football recruit in the country, Seantrel Henderson of St. Paul's Cretin-Derham Hall High School could probably attend any college in America while starring on the football team. Henderson would probably be a top NFL draft pick this Spring if high school players were able to enter the draft.
So, what is to be made of the decision Seantrel Henderson will have to make? Their appears to be two possible outcomes. He could attend a perennial powerhouse program such as USC, Ohio State, or Oklahoma and enter the NFL draft three years down the road. The second option, which still appears to be a possibility, would be to play for his home state's team before entering the NFL draft three years down the road. The bottom line is that Henderson will most likely be a high draft pick regardless of what school he attends.
Fans and supporters of college football programs will often criticize local recruits who choose to attend a school in another part of the country. There have been several recruits from the state of Minnesota who sought greener grass at other programs, only to fade into anonymity. In those cases, the criticism made sense. Seantrel Henderson is different. He will be a star at any school that he attends.
So, what are the pros and cons of Seantrel Henderson committing to a powerhouse program such as USC or Oklahoma?:
Pros of Attending an Elite Program
- A chance to play alongside elite talent.
- A change of venue...USC isn't far from the beach.
- National television exposure on a frequent basis.
- Joining a team with a recent history of winning.
- A chance to experience college as a star player, while alongside other star players, at a top program.
Pros of Attending Minnesota
- A chance to play home games in front of family and friends. He'd probably have at least a few hundred people at every game who are attending specifically because he is on the team.
- He'd be playing alongside Big Ten talent, and would be facing some of the best teams in America on a weekly basis.
- Henderson probably has a big payday coming in a few years, and in Minnesota he could have a strong support network of friends and family to help navigate the con artists and fame seekers looking to secure a piece of that future.
- While Henderson could be a star no matter where he goes, at Minnesota he could become a legend. Imagine Joe Mauer on the Yankees: he'd still be an All-Star but would play in the shadows of Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter. The Twins may be a smaller market, but Joe Mauer will be remembered 60 years from now. In New York, he'd just be another player on a long list of great players. The same is true of Henderson.
- Seantrel Henderson could make an immediate impact. Minnesota lacks talent on the offensive line, and a player with his abilities could have led to Gophers to an additional two or three wins this season alone.
Seantrel Henderson has several great options for his college career. Most analysts unanimously agree that he is bound for a future in the NFL. If he commits to a school such as USC or Oklahoma, he will probably be a star at that program for the next several years. If he commits to Minnesota he would have the opportunity to not only be the brightest star, but he might also become a legendary figure in the program.
Have you ever seen the movie about recruiting from 1988, Johnny Be Good? It's a comedy about an elite football recruit facing the same decisions as Henderson. If you haven't seen it, check it out and pay attention to the Hollywood ending.
GN ADDITION: We all know SH was taking his official visit to USC last weekend. The LA Times noted his presence by saying this,
Seantrel Henderson, an offensive lineman from Minnesota here on a recruiting trip was seated on the Trojans bench -- and still stood out.
Henderson, 6 feet 8 and 337 pounds, is the top-rated high school offensive tackle in the country, according to Scout.com.
Which proves Buck's point. Henderson was just "an offensive lineman from Minnesota." At Minnesota he is THE #1 recruit in the country and a program changer, not just some big kid from Minnesota.