The USC Trojans’ overly-harsh punishment from the NCAA may have actually done the program at least one small favor. Offensive tackle prospect Seantrel Henderson had originally chosen the Trojans and signed a letter of intent to play football for Lane Kiffin. He was supposed to be the marquee signing for the new coach, who took over for the departed Pete Carroll.
Instead, the NCAA tried to kill USC football because Reggie Bush, unebeknownst to anyone in the program, took money and benefits from an agent, and Seantrel Henderson asked to be released from his letter of intent and signed with the Miami Hurricanes. Obviously, the five-star prospect didn’t want to deal with the Trojans’ bowl ban and impending scholarship losses. Playing for a loser didn’t really seem like a great idea.
Fast forward two years.
While the Trojans have made it through most of their punishment (they’re still being docked scholarships) and are national title contenders once again, the mountainous Henderson has barely been a member of the Hurricanes’ program at all.
He started just two games in 2011 after starting nine in 2010 and being hailed as the next big thing, both literally and figuratively, in offensive line prospects for the NFL. Then came the 2011-2012 offseason.
First, Henderson was late to the start of summer meetings. Then he was in a car accident that caused some kind of head injury. Then he disappeared for days at a time at two separate funerals back home in Minnesota, only just recently coming back to Hurricanes’ fall camp.
He is not on their depth chart and has not participated in any 11-11 activity. The general vibe about him is that he doesn’t really like football, according to Rivals’ Gary Ferman. The whole thing is an absolute disaster when compared with the hype surrounding Henderson when he started.
One just hopes Henderson gets to do whatever it is that he wants to do. If he really isn’t a huge fan of football, then there’s no reason to be angry with the kid. Not everyone HAS to play just because they’re big. However, if he just isn’t trying very hard because he’s always been bigger and stronger than everyone, then he is, without a doubt, the biggest bust in the history of recruiting. And he’ll have to live with that.
The good news for him is that he still has two years of eligibility remaining and can definitely salvage this insane offseason. A redshirt season for Henderson has even been floated as a possibility, which might be the best bet since the Hurricanes kind of suck anyway. Sure it’s nice to have a Rolls Royce tackle, but if his motivation is questionable and the rest of the team isn’t great, then maybe everyone needs a break from each other.
Either way, this is NOT how Seantrel Henderson’s career was supposed to go. But maybe that’s the point. The hype around recruiting high school athletes might be putting too much in the way of expectations on kids who are 17 and 18. It’s probably a good idea to remember that they need to grow up while also maybe being good at football too.