Seantrel Henderson Visits Miami: The Latest on USC's Recruiting Class
According to Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Seantrel Henderson, USC's Five Star offensive tackle commitment and highlight of its 2010 recruiting class, was in Miami on Saturday to celebrate the 4th of July holiday weekend.
Henderson, who waited until after national signing day to sign his letter of intent due to impending NCAA sanctions, has been the hot topic of recruiting news for the last several weeks as speculation over his future with the Trojans continues to churn out.
It is widely believed that Henderson will bypass the opportunity to play for USC and instead join another program, even if that means sitting out a year before being eligible to play.
The further this process goes along the less likely it appears Henderson will ever don a Trojans jersey. He has yet to report to the school and has refused to comment on the situation.
The latest news of his visit to Miami is accompanied by rumors that Henderson is leaning toward a commitment to the Hurricanes. They were believed to be his second choice after USC when he originally committed.
The burden of proof regarding his eventual escape from USC is starting to mount tall.
Here's all the latest news on the Henderson front as well as the spin for the rest of USC's 2010 recruiting class.
Not One, But Twice to Minnesota for a Visit From Kiffin
Henderson was expected to report to USC for freshman orientation earlier this month and was also expected to participate in offseason programs with other members of the team's recruiting class.
After he was a no-show, it was reported that Lane Kiffin and several members of his coaching staff made two separate trips to Minnesota to visit with Henderson in order to assure that he was still planning on attending the school.
Kiffin later admitted to the Los Angeles Times that he basically had to "re-recruit" the top prospect of the 2010 class.
Kiffin also began showing signs of frustration and confusion over the situation when he added, "Sometimes I think I know his main concern and then it seems to change the next day.
"Every other freshman has got here when they were supposed to and is sticking with it."
Silence Says A Lot: Henderson Doesn't Want To Talk
One of the most important aspects of the Henderson situation is, of course, the personal feelings of the recruit himself.
His differences with Kiffin and wavering commitment to USC are apparently tied to a trust issue Henderson has with his would-be head coach. Kiffin is reported to have told the highly-coveted tackle that USC would be suffering no serious penalties due to NCAA sanctions.
When the news broke of the severity of the sanctions, which currently stand at a two year postseason ban and forfeiture of scholarships and past victories, Henderson believed that Kiffin had been dishonest with him and was put-off from the school as a result.
He and his camp, including his father, have remained silent on Henderson's future and have made no public commitment to remain with the program.
According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, when Henderson was recently asked about his status with USC while playing in pro-am basketball league last week, his response was, "I don't want to talk about that."
The No. 2 Option: Miami Believed To Be Henderson's Second Choice
While many believed that Ohio State was the favorite to land Henderson in the event that he left USC, new reports point to Miami as the clear-cut favorite, as well as state that it was the Hurricanes, and not the Buckeyes who were his second choice before committing to the Trojans.
Henderson was reported to have had a great visit at Miami last year after hanging out with his idol, Bryant McKinnie, and other former Hurricanes such as Ed Reed and Willis McGahee.
Keith Arnold of NBC Sports reported that the decision was so close that just moments before Henderson made his official announcement in favor of USC that he texted his former high school basketball coach saying only, "MIAMI."
With the reports that he made a visit to the city this past weekend as well as the rumors that he's leaning toward bolting the Left Coast for the East Coast, the dots are starting to fall into place.
The Letter of Intent Debate: Will Henderson Have To Sit Out a Year?
The main sticking point on Henderson's future circles around his letter of intent.
According to NCAA rules, once a player has signed a letter of intent, they cannot transfer to another Division 1-A program without first requesting and receiving a release from their current program.
What that means for Henderson is that unless USC decides to grant his release, which seems very unlikely, he will not be able to play for Miami in 2010 and would be ineligible until the 2011 season.
An interesting side of the debate from Henderson's camp, however, points out that under the circumstances of his recruitment, in which Kiffin assured Henderson that there would be no major sanctions for the football program, it may be possible to petition the NCAA to wave his letter of intent and allow him to play for any team of his choosing next season.
When this is all said and done though, it's believed that Henderson is willing to bypass next season and play at junior college if that's what it takes to get what he wants.
News On the Rest of USC's 2010 Recruiting Class
As Kiffin told the Los Angeles Times, all other recruits have already showed up on campus and are doing exactly what the school expects from them.
Several members of the class have already enrolled in classes and competed in the Spring Game this off season.
After the news of the sanctions broke there was concern that several of the school's high-profile recruits would jump ship and sign-on with other programs.
While the effect on upperclassmen has been more noticeable as players like Jordan Campbell have already opted to transfer, the situation with recruits is more complicated.
Most players aren't willing to sit out a year of eligibility in order to relocate to another Division 1-A program and those that have already enrolled in classes are essentially out of the discussion as it is.
While it appears that Henderson might be a lost cause, the rest of USC's recruiting class doesn't seem to be wavering.
That's one thing Trojan fans can exhale over.
Henderson is a different story.