Looking at the bigger picture when it comes to Seantrel Henderson and USC

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 01: Head coach Lane Kiffin looks on during the USC Trojans spring game on May 1, 2010 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

It’s hard to blame Seantrel Henderson for getting out of his letter of intent at USC to join another program like Miami, Ohio State or Minnesota (which were three schools, along with USC, that he was reportedly interested in). Thanks to the fairly recent sanctions handed down by the NCAA, the Trojans won’t be able to compete in a bowl game over the next two years and obviously that’s important to a player like Henderson, who was considered the second best recruit from the class of 2010 according to Rivals.com.

But will Henderson inevitably miss out in the long run?

The 6’7”, 295-pound offensive lineman, who played for Cretin-Derham High School in Minnesota, committed to USC in February before waiting to sign his letter of intent with the Trojans until the NCAA had wrapped up its investigation. Then, after reportedly meeting with Miami head coach Randy Shannon over the weekend, Henderson wanted to opt out of his commitment to USC, which Lane Kiffin and the Trojans granted by releasing him from his LOI with zero penalties or restrictions. (If USC wanted to, they could have made Henderson sit out an entire year before transferring because he had already signed with the program.)

On the surface, it appears as though Henderson is making the right decision. After all, what blue chipper would want to go through the next two seasons without the opportunity to play in a bowl game or perhaps a national title? It couldn’t have been a hard sell for someone like Shannon to sit the young man down and say, “Come to Miami and have the opportunity to play in four postseason games over the next two years, or go to USC and be limited to two.”

But let’s keep in mind that USC is a NFL-producing factory. Last year, the Trojans sent seven players to the NFL, while in 2009 they sent 11 and in 2008 there were 10 USC players drafted.

Over the history of the program, Miami has sent a ton of players to the NFL as well, but it pails in comparison to USC in recent years. In 2010, four Canes were drafted by pro teams, while in 2009 there was only one and in 2008 there were three.

So in the same three-year span, the Trojans sent over three times as many players to the NFL as Miami did. Granted, that was all under Pete Carroll’s watch and not Kiffin’s, so there’s no way of knowing if USC will keep those numbers up. But history is certainly on their side.

What’s more important to recruits: playing in a bowl game or playing in the NFL? While bowl games might seem more important now, the ultimate goal for any recruit is to play at the professional level.

I don’t want to sound like I’m criticizing Henderson’s decision to bail on USC because I’m not. If he wanted to stay in Minnesota and play for a community college, then that’s his right and he should fulfill his dreams. He’s only a kid and all of this probably seems overwhelming right now, especially in light of the sanctions that were levied against the Trojans. (Plus, no matter where he winds up, whether it’s USC, Miami or Minnesota Junior College, he’s going to have the opportunity to play the game he’s highly skilled at.)

But hopefully he’s looking at the big picture here. Obviously he wanted to play at USC at some point and hopefully one talk with Randy Shannon didn’t change that. USC will return to the postseason in two years and while Miami’s program is back on the upswing, his best chance of playing in the NFL (assuming that’s even what he wants to do) seemingly still lies with the Trojans.

Maybe Henderson will change his mind again and play for USC after all. Or maybe he’ll go to Miami, have the time of his life and get drafted in the first round, in which case this would all be a moot point.

But the bottom line is what seems like the best decision now may not in a week, a month or in four years.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Related Posts

One response to “Looking at the bigger picture when it comes to Seantrel Henderson and USC”

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>