On The Black Side

In exploring every opportunity I can to make extra money, I've recently taken on a high school football scouting job in the eastern portion of the Twin Cities area, namely, the Suburban East Conference.

Or, The Cretin-Derham Hall Conference.

You've certainly heard of Michael Floyd, and Joe Mauer, and Matt Birk, and Paul Molitor. All former Raiders. They've got one that will trump them all now.

Junior offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson is said to be the nation's top collegiate prospect in the 2010 football recruiting class. I watched he and his Cretin teammates mop McNamara Stadium with the host Hastings Raiders (two schools in the same conference sharing a name with the team in Oakland...kind of sad), but my jaw dropped in watching Henderson.

Believe the hype. He's as advertised. Insert hyperbolic cliche here.

Cretin has him listed at 6-foot-7, 285 pounds, and he moves like a deer. A first-step-and-punch fans could hear from the stands, perfect technique in pass pro as well as drive-blocking, and the longest arms I've ever seen on a football player at that level - 8-foot-9 inch reach, and 7-foot-2 wingspan.

I really hope to be taken seriously, but I'm not lying, he looks just like Jonathon Ogden.

I work with a guy who's kid goes to Cretin, and the kid says Jim Tressel's been there twice to talk to Henderson. Granted, Tressel went after Floyd as if he was the only recruit they wanted, so naturally, he was going to bump into him.

Having scouted Floyd last year, and watched Henderson last night, I'm fully convinced Tressel went after Floyd as hard as he did so he could get some leverage to sign Henderson. No disrespect to Floyd, but it's a lot easier finding a big, tough receiver with great hands and a complete hatred for tacklers than it is to find a 6-foot-7 landmass with elite Division I feet and enormous hands when he's 16 years old.

The folks at Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Boston College, UCLA, North Carolina, Florida and Ohio State tend to agree with me, and have offered Henderson full scholarships before he set foot on the field for his junior season of high school.

Keep that list of schools in mind, there's clearly one that doesn't really fit in with the others in terms of gridiron success.

I've had recent back-and-forths with CCC and Ram amongst others debating why it is offensive line scouting and analysis is largely overlooked by mainstream media and other sources. This led into an exchange about stats, and the significance behind them. I'm not going to rehash them, but I will say that Cretin played Henderson in four different offensive line positions (all but center), and he had no problem paving the way for two running backs who rushed for over 200 yards on 25 carries.

Oh, yeah, and this year's stud tailback in Cretin's single-back offense, Marcus Binns, didn't play. Two back-ups rushed for 117 and 85, respectively, almost entirely due to the fact Henderson oftentimes drove two defenders back - one in each hand - into the defensive secondary.

The sick thing is, it didn't look like he was even trying. If he was, he literally would have killed the poor 6-foot-1 190 pound defensive end for Hastings.

Assuming he stays clean and healthy (always a crapshoot nowadays), I find it hard to believe he won't be an Outland Trophy candidate (top lineman in the nation) and high first round draft pick in 2013 - the first year he's eligible for the NFL draft.

That is, of course, assuming he wants to play football. While he has the build of a Hall of Fame tackle, he played at the Howard Pulley Basketball Camp this summer, spurning offers to go to basically every major football camp in the country. We could be seeing the biggest two-sport college athlete since Julius Peppers.

Which school did he go to again? Ah yes...the one that didn't fit in with the eight other football scholarship offers he got.


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