Before we can truly praise Lane Kiffin and his staff for their work in securing what ESPN’s Tom Luginbill ranked as the No. 7 best recruiting class in the country, it appears that air of optimism making its way through Heritage Hall may have taken a bit of a hit today from the biggest man to hit Southern California since Shaquille O’Neal.
Wednesdasy, Seantrel Henderson, the 6’8” 300 pound man-child, also considered by most publications as the best offensive tackle in this year’s recruiting class, surprised many when he ended his live song and dance performance, now known as a college announcement ceremony, by donning the Cardinal and Gold. And while the football program and fans alike should be excited over the St. Paul native’s decision to come to Los Angeles — they should first make sure Henderson actually makes his way onto campus.
Despite what hours earlier seemed like the picturesque first step for Kiffin and company in their quest to get back to the proverbial promised land, Sean Henderson, Seantrel’s father, crashed the celebratory party with a disclaimer.
According to a report by the New York Times, Henderson’s father said his family will wait to sign his letter of intent until after USC stands before the NCAA infractions committee on Feb. 19. While any decision on whether the university will suffer possible sanctions for violations incurred during Pete Carroll’s tenure likely will come to fruition at a later date, the Henderson family believes the hearing will give them more clarity as to whether USC and the top offensive lineman in the country are a match made in heaven.
This cruel blow to the psyche of anxious USC fans took another turn Thursday morning. Bree Jasper, Seantrel’s mother refuted the New York Times report by telling StarTribune.com that her son is “definitely going to USC.” Whether this is just another ploy by a headline-driven family or a declarative statement, no one knows.
The only thing etched in stone at this point is that recruits have until April 1 to sign their letter of intent with a program, but for Trojan fans, count your lucky stars the big guy makes his decision before April Fool’s Day.