ND Has Been Eyeing Henderson For A Long Time

Cretin-Derham Hall head coach Mike Scanlan described it as "showing the flag and eating fries with the kids."

Also a teacher at the St. Paul, Minn., football powerhouse, Scanlan frequently works lunch security, and college coaches that visit the campus, normally find him at his post in the school cafeteria.

Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis and his assistant Rob Ianello have done their fair share of chatting with Cretin-Derham Hall students and teachers while visiting the school to court current true freshman receiver Michael Floyd.

"To sit in the cafeteria and schmooze, it doesn't take too long for the community to find out that coach Weis is on campus," Scanlan said. "He has one of those Super Bowl rings that is the size of a small child's head.

"He's always been real nice. A lot of our Christian brothers here have been life-long Notre Dame fans, and he is always taking the time to talk with them and visit with them. He is real generous with his time, and takes the time to say hi."

Weis and Ianello will likely be back on the first day the NCAA allows college coaches to visit high school recruits.

With Floyd on the team, the Irish coaching staff would like to add his former prep teammate, offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson, perhaps the best player in the country in the class of 2010.

"Dutifully, coach Ianello had us call at 7:30 on Tuesday morning, to have coach Weis give the offer to Seantrel personally," Scanlan said. Last Monday was the first day the NCAA allows college programs to offer high school juniors, but that happened to be Labor Day and school was not in session. "But even today, Seantrel picked up a stack of mail that is four inches thick. He's getting a ton. Him being named the number one recruit in the country, is certainly bringing a lot of mail his way."

Scanlan took an educated guess that Henderson is already up to 20 scholarship offers. All the nation's best programs are in the mix, and Scanlan said Henderson was definitely excited to be on the horn with Weis.

"I don't know," Scanlan answered when asked what Henderson's exact interest in Notre Dame is. "I think it would give him an opportunity to play on TV every Saturday. The one thing I think everyone likes, and me particularly, is they graduate their student athletes, and I don't know if a lot of high-octane programs can say that.

"He could come out of there with a degree from a world-class institution, and I don't think that's lost on anyone on this end of the phone."

The 6-foot-8, 301-pound Henderson plays the same position that former Cretin and Notre Dame star, and current Denver Bronco offensive tackle Ryan Harris lined up at. Scanlan likes to flip his offensive tackles, and Henderson generally gets left blocking on an island out in space.

"I think the size is overstating the obvious, but he moves very well," Scanlan began. "I think as a sophomore, he was a pretty good technician. He is going to develop the skills over a period of time that I think will translate on the college level. The stuff we do, even though other people do it, I think we do it pretty well. We prepare our linemen with the skills I think colleges are looking for. He'll know how to pass protect and know how to zone block."

After seeing Henderson in middle school at camps, Scanlan, who is now in his fourth season as the head coach at Cretin, and his 23rd overall with the program, knew he was eventually going to have a good one to work with down the road.

Henderson played a season on the freshman team before moving up and starting on the varsity level last fall. He helped the Raiders reach the state title game.

It also didn't take Weis and Ianello very long to figure out they wanted Henderson to eventually wear a Notre Dame uniform.

"I think as soon as they saw him," Scanlan stated. Weis and Ianello eyed Henderson when he was a ninth grader. "When they were courting Michael Floyd, we just told him we think we're sitting on a real special kid. As soon as they saw him, they fell in love with him."

The Notre Dame staff isn't the only one.

"Everyone wants a piece of Seantrel right now, and right now he seems to be enjoying it," Scanlan said. "It's not wearing on him, it's not getting old to him and more power to him. Not everyone gets to experience this, and enjoy it while you've got it."

Henderson has seen plenty of his former teammates go through the recruiting process before, and has a lot of experienced people to lean on if he needs it. Scanlan believes Henderson and Floyd were friends away from the football field.

"There is a two year difference between them but Michael was a nice role model," Scanlan explained. "Maybe with the exception of Joe Maurer, Michael and Seantrel are two of the most highly recruited kids we've ever had.

"To see two guys handle it as well as Maurer and Michael did, they handled themselves very well. Whether Seantrel was looking for it or not, here is how it's going to happen and here is how you should handle yourself."

Scanlan isn't sure of any favorites Henderson might have, or of any timetable the family has made in making a decision.

"I stay out of it," Scanlan said. "They don't need a new best friend. If they want some help, they can ask."

If Henderson decides he does, and forgets to ask Scanlan at practice, he can find his head coach in the cafeteria. Likely surrounded by French fries and a couple more college recruiters.

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