Star system not looking so credible, eh!

IF THERE WAS ANY DOUBT the national ratings of football prospects are flawed, it was confirmed in a brazen way over the weekend. Trey Henderson, a verbal commit to WSU since early December and a two-star prospect for months, was elevated to three stars and his national position ranking boosted 20 places. The reason for the boost appears to be driven by the fact he's now swearing allegiance to USC.

True fact. The kid is a two-star WSU verbal commitment all season long and then once he boards the plane for an official visit to Troy -- a trip in which he switched his pledge to USC -- he's elevated to three stars.

What, did the kid suddenly run a 4.2 in the 40? Did he increase his bench press to 600 pounds? Elevate his vertical leap to 53 inches? Find a cure for cancer and the common cold.

None of the above.

What did happen was this: Mighty USC gave Hendu a last-minute offer. Soon after, the rating machine deemed him a much better prospect than he was when he was thought headed to Wazzu.

Can everyone just admit that these national star ratings are, at best, a crap shoot and, at worst, a charade?

Maybe Scout and Rivals and anyone else out there should put warning signs on their databases that say they've been approved by the accounting firm of Carroll-Meyer-Brown-Fulmer and Weis.

That's not to take anything away from Henderson. He probably should be at three stars. But the only reason he sits there now is because ol' Pete Carroll recently lost a couple of hot defensive line prospects so he went fishing and pulled Henderson out of the Strait of Georgia. Some sweet talk on the phone, a lickety-split official visit and, like magic, this obscure prospect from British Columbia is humming "I love L.A."

Imagine the look on the lad's face when John David Booty asks him if Medicine Hat is a cure for head lice?

Worse, imagine Booty's face when Henderson calls him Hoser.

Eh?

Do you think Ol' Pete showed the kid O.J. Simpson's Heisman Trophy over at Heritage Hall?

If the glove don't fit, ya got to acquit.

Alas, it fits rather nicely in the case of Henderson and the magically appearing extra star next to his name in the Scout.com database.

If you want to know why you couldn't fill a bottle cap with the collective stars awarded over the years to prospects like Marcus Trufant, Erik Coleman, Will Derting, Mkristo Bruce and Scott Davis, wonder no longer. Pete Carroll forgot to phone home.

Mind you, Henderson's new-found status wasn't greeted with enthusiasm throughout the empire. The regional analyst who broke down Henderson's film and assigned him two stars way back when was shocked to find his handywork dismissed on the eve of LOI day. He assigned two stars, in part, because the competition Henderson faced in Canada wasn't strong and because the youngster played tight end in high school but is ticketed for an unfamiliar role, defensive end, in college.

I'm told by the Cougfan.com braintrust that the national analyst who awarded the third star is, like the regional analyst who awarded the two stars, a thoughtful man who works hard. He defended his actions Sunday, explaining that he had never heard of Henderson until last week, when the champion hammer thrower announced he was rethinking his commitment to WSU and taking an official visit to Troy. At that point, the national analyst said, he decided to look at Henderson's tapes. And what he discovered was this: The young man is the real deal!

Ya hoser, take off, eh!

Fine and well. Henderson is, as the initial assessment of him stated, tremendously athletic.

But even with that explanation for the third star, there's still a credibility gap bigger than the Yukon Valley. Do all prospects seriously looked at by USC -- or Florida or Texas or Tennessee or Notre Dame -- get their tapes re-reviewed nationally to make sure the regional evaluators weren't too miserly?

By definition, that skews the rating system toward the USCs of the world because every single kid in their orbit gets at least two chances to impress the star givers.

Somehow, I just don't think anyone is going to be up late tonight breaking down film of Marshal Pirtz or Tyson Pencer. Eh?

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