"As of 1:30 p.m. today, we are releasing Seantrel Henderson out of his national letter of intent with zero penalties and no restrictions," Kiffin said in a statement. "Seantrel has been great through the whole process and we wish him the best of luck with his decision."
Rated as the No. 1 offensive tackle in the Class of 2010 by Scout.com, the Saint Paul (Minn.) Cretin Derham Hall product was expected to see playing time immediately for a thin USC offensive line group.
Standing at 6-foot-8 and weighing more than 330 pounds, Henderson is regarded as one of the most physically ready players to come out of the high school ranks in recent memory, as demonstrated last December when he towered over current USC players in the Coliseum locker room during his official visit to Los Angeles.
Henderson verbally committed on signing day, selecting USC over Ohio State and Miami (Fla.), but did not sign his binding letter of intent until March 23 because of concerns regarding the NCAA investigation into former USC running back Reggie Bush.
USC was hit last month with a two-year bowl ban and loss of 30 scholarships over three years in that case, though it will appeal to have those sanctions cut in half. Henderson and his family were reportedly told by Kiffin and his staff that such penalties were unlikely.
The mammoth Henderson was expected to contribute from day one at a position of great need. In spring practice, USC was often forced to work with just six available linemen because of injury and limited numbers.
Without Henderson, USC will add just one offensive lineman in this class, Ventura (Calif.) Saint Bonaventure center Giovanni Di Poalo, a candidate to redshirt.
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