There were three significant interview from the past week concerning Seantrel. Below are highlights from all three.
1 - The big news this week in the Seantrel Henderson sweepstakes comes to us from ESPN. Bill Kurelic on the midwest recruiting blog got a hold of Seantrel's father, Sean Henderson, and kinda-sorta nailed down where Seantrel is going to "OFFICIALLY" visit this fall.
"I can give you about six to eight of the schools he is considering," Sean Henderson said. "You have to keep the Gophers in there in case he decides to stay home, but I'm not real sure where that stands. There is Minnesota, Florida, Florida State, Oklahoma, Michigan, USC, I know Notre Dame's been on his list and Ohio State.
"I know his five official visits. He will definitely visit Ohio State, Oklahoma, USC and Florida. Florida State is one that could change. He might decide to visit somewhere else besides Florida State. He could visit both the Florida schools or he might just take one to Florida."
Nothing is officially on his calendar, this is not a declared "top five", and that list can change at any given moment but it is something semi-concrete and worth noting.
2 - The second interview of note comes from Go Blue Wolverine, the Michigan Scout site (subscription required). This interview is with Henderson's high school coach, Mike Scanlan. It is a good read if you have access to the site and the most intriguing part is when Scanlan talks about how telling schools 'no' is going to be tough for Seanrel.
GoBlueWolverine: Has Seantrel discussed any top schools with you lately?
Scanlan: "He’s got a list going, but it fluctuates from day to day. Seantrel is not the kind of kid who says no very easily, so this is going to be hard for him to narrow things down -- because there’s going to be a lot of unhappy people that he doesn’t have to deal with, but I don’t think he likes to hurt people’s feelings."
Much of what I have read leads me to believe that Seantrel is a pleaser (please excuse the total speculation). He knows that saying 'yes' to one coach means saying 'no' to several others. If this is truly the case I think we should take his comments after each visit with a grain of salt. Even if he surprises with a verbal commitment before signing day, he may have a change of heart.
Warning...Editorial from GN: From the outside it would seem like a lot of fun to be courted like this and get free trips to Florida, USC, etc. But this is a big decision for Seantrel and careers will be affected by his decision (note: careers not determined by one recruit but certainly can be affected). We are looking at this from a fan's perspective, how great would it be to land the top recruit in the country and what will that mean for us. But this is bigger than that for those who are intimately involved, especially Seantrel. This is fun to follow but let's remember this is a big decision for this young man and he is just a high school senior who seems to be handling this process very well.
3 - Finally Adam Powell of North Carolina Blue (rivals) caught up with Seantrel at the Nike Peach Jam (AAU basketball tournament) and Powell was able to get a ton of good info.
When asked about why he plans to visit Florida, Florida State, and Southern Cal, he mentioned the prestige of each of those programs.
"I just know they've got a nice track record of sending guys to the 'League' (NFL), and a lot of good guys come out of those schools," he said. "I just think that maybe I could be another one of those guys. I know they breed a lot of guys, so I just think that those would be nice schools that I might fit in, as long as I go check it out and that I'm comfortable there."
That is very true and one of the things that the Gophers are up against to some degree. Seantrel also talked a little bit about playing some basketball during his college days as well. Calls from Roy Williams with an offer to walk-on at UNC is impressive, but the Tar Heels are the only ones playing the basketball card.
North Carolina is one of several schools that Henderson says would allow him the chance to play both basketball and football, and it's an idea he's seriously entertaining.
"Yeah, I would like to do that (play basketball and football). It's a big possibility that I could be doing that, as long as I could handle both of them and manage my time with both sports," he said. "Yes sir (schools have said I could play both), UCLA, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Georgia, and I think Ohio State and Oklahoma."
He could probably tell coaches he wants to play tiddlywinks at a competive level and they'll probably find a way to make it happen. Whether or not he'll play basketball is kind of an interesting debate. On one hand it has been done before, Tony Gonzalez is a pretty good example. On the other hand who wants to risk an injury playing basketball that would significantly affect football, which is his meal ticket. Time will certainly tell.
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updates added for UNC, Flor, USC, the other USC and others. Schools who may be coming off the map soon would be BC, Oregon and Iowa.
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From the Gophers perspective
I'll say it every time...for the Gophers to have a shot it comes down to winning. I hear whispers that the Gophers are where he wants to play, but it won't matter if he believes they'll never be more than an average team who will fight every year to play in an average bowl game.
I was thinking this week about what kind of affect our new OL coach, Tim Davis, will have on Henderson's recruitment. Davis was the OL coach at USC for three seasons where he coached an All-American and two others drafted. He then spent two seasons coaching OL in the NFL for Miami. When Henderson makes comments like the one above about how programs with a track record of getting guys to the League is an important factor, I wonder how much Davis' experience factors into his thinking. The Gophers have sent several guys to the NFL in recent years (Esslinger, Hamilton, Setterstrom, Anderle come to mind off the top of my head) and then you couple that with Davis having experience putting guys into the NFL and then coaching them at that level. It can only help. I'm sure the Gopher staff is pushing that angle and maybe it is a big reason why the Gophers are still in the running.