Bamberg-Ehrhardt HS (Bamberg, SC) two-way end Justin Henderson has quietly put together one of the more impressive offer lists in the Palmetto State.
The 6-4 1/2, 229 pound end already has offers from Penn State, Colorado, Tulsa, Texas A&M, Michigan St., Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Syracuse, Duke and Maryland, while the Auburn staff has informed him they will offer when he visits this weekend.
The hard-nosed prospect is also receiving interest from Shane Beamer and the in-state South Carolina Gamecocks.
Henderson says he has been impressed with Beamer.
"He's awesome, man. He's a really cool guy; he's really funny," Henderson said. "I noticed when I was at the junior day, he basically took over everything; he's a leader. He's really cool to be around, so I really like him."
Henderson also had an all-around positive experience at USC's junior day.
"It was real cool; I grew up a South Carolina fan my whole life, so most of the stuff I've actually seen before, except the locker room and stuff," he said. "It was cool getting to go and see what all the football players do and stuff. It was cool."
Henderson was blown away when he got to meet USC head coach Steve Spurrier during the visit.
"It was awesome; I've always wanted to meet him and I never really thought I would," he said. "I didn't know I was going to blow up like this recruiting-wise, it just kind of happened. It was like a shock to me."
So after growing up a USC fan and a positive trip to Columbia for the junior day, what would a USC offer mean to Henderson?
"It would be really big, but there are other schools that I've really gotten close to getting to know them. And I really like those schools too. So I'm just going to visit everywhere and give everybody an equal shot. And I mean there are some great schools that have offered me, academically, and then on the field like Penn State they're awesome too. So I'm not sure yet, I'm not really basing it on like close-to-home or if I'm a fan. But, yeah that would be tight if Carolina offered me, though."
Henderson took his USC junior day visit with his teammate and highly regarded USC offensive line target A.J. Cann. Henderson says he and Cann are good friends who hang out everyday and hope to play together at the next level if possible.
Henderson and Cann will be traveling together again as they make four stops in the next two weeks. The first trip will feature visits to Georgia Tech and Auburn while the second will include stops at Auburn and Penn State.
Henderson's top five consists of Penn State, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Maryland and Auburn in no particular order.
Henderson has a number of things in mind that he will be looking for when he takes visits and eventually decides on a program.
"I want the school to have good academics and I want the coaches to really treat me well and act like they're going to be there for me and stuff since I might end up going far away. I want the campus to be really nice, and I want my coaches to help me once I graduate and stuff to help me find internships and stuff and help me get a job. I want to see the depth chart and the players that are playing there now to see how I would fit in with their defense and when I would play."
The versatile end says he also plans a return trip to South Carolina for one of their camps - the only camp he will attend this summer because he doesn't want to miss summer workouts. The South Carolina staff has also told him they will evaluate him during his spring practice.
"I didn't say it earlier, but if Carolina offered me they would definitely be in my top 5. They would be in my top 2 I would imagine. Right now I think they're kind of short on offers."
Whether or not South Carolina is able to land the talented end may depend on the timing of a potential offer more than anything. Henderson, along with the help of his coaches and family, has decided it's best to commit before his senior season so he can concentrate on that.
"I sat down with coach and talked to him about my top 5. The way I looked at it is, (South Carolina) might not offer. Personally, I think they will offer me. But I'm going to make my decision before the season. And if they're going to wait I'm probably not going to be able to commit there, because I want to commit before the season and as soon as I commit, I'm not backing out of a commitment. I feel like that's wrong."
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