Iowa Western Community College coach Steve Strohmeier said the only knock recruiters had on Hendrikson, now a center, was his height, but it wasn't an issue in anything the Reivers did offensively.
Hendrikson, who committed to Rutgers late Monday night, will sign a binding national letter of intent Wednesday during a 10 a.m. (11 a.m. EST) ceremony at the Council Bluffs, Iowa, school to play at Rutgers, and there is no question in Strohmeier's mind about the 6-foot-1, 295-pounders ability to excel on the Scarlet Knights' offensive line.
"I just know from his determination," Strohmeier said. "He's such a smart football player, No. 1. But he's so determined in how hard he works. I know at that position, we all want the 6-5, 300-pound kids, but what he doesn't have in his height, he more than doubles that in all of his other intangible things.
"Everybody's concerned about his height, and he's a three-time all-state kid and played multiple sports. We'd like to say it was our coaching, but he was a staple of our offensive line for two years. He's so committed. He works so hard. He's worked for everything he's got."
There are several reasons Strohmeier was overlooked in the recruiting process out of St. Ansgar, beginning with his position. He played tackle for the Saints, where he was a three-time Class 1A all-state selection three straight seasons.
Hendrikson also placed eighth in the state championship shot put as a senior, and was a third-team all-star selection in baseball and finished third in the 2009 state wrestling tournament., and was 41-3 at 285 pounds as a senior.
"He's explosive," Strohmeier said. "He's an all-around athlete, playing first base on the baseball team. He was a special athlete from a small school."
Hendrikson was also a team leader on the offensive line, and at Rutgers will be asked to step in and fill the void left by outgoing senior center Howard Barbieri.
"There's not one thing I could tell you he's missed in two years, from studying house to community service activities to the weight room," Strohmeier said. "Nothing. He's a 3.6, 3.7 GPA kid."
Hendrikson made an official visit to Rutgers in November, and the experience was much different from the rural settings he lived in.
However, any concern Hendrikson had was put to rest when Rutgers coach Greg Schiano flew to Iowa last week. Schiano met with Hendrikson, and equally important, met with his parents.
"Honestly, he felt comfortable with coach Schiano, and the school," Strohmeier said. "You're talking about a small town Iowa kid, grew up in a small town in Minnesota, moving out to New Jersey. For him, just like when he committed to us, he got the feeling when he was on campus, ‘This is where I want to go.'
"When coach came here and spent the whole day with him, and met with his parents that same, it really put him at ease. The distance wasn't as big of a factor then because he felt so comfortable with coach."