The Throne is Open

U-S-C, the three most hated letters in the Pac-10. The most successful team the past decade. One of the most beloved, but also one of the most hated. They are the New York Yankee’s of the Pac-10. They have an incredible following everywhere they go, yet it seems like not only the entire Pac-10, but most of America despises them. They’ve been the cream of the crop and the king of the conference throne, until now.

Seantrel Henderson, one of the top players in the 2010 football recruiting class, has been granted his release by USC and is free to attend any university he chooses. Henderson was considered amongst if not the premiere offensive lineman in his class, and is from St. Paul, Minnesota. Standing at 6’8 and weighing in at around 350 pounds, Henderson was hesitant to sign with USC because of potential sanctions that could be brought down. In fact, Henderson did not sign his letter of intent until late March. Henderson was part of new head coach Lane Kiffin’s first recruiting class at USC.

With many considering Henderson the best player in the 2010 class, it has been reported by canesreport.com that Henderson is leaning heavily towards the University of Miami. Henderson leaving shows how big these new sanctions are that the NCAA has brought down on USC, and it also shows that the tide is turning in the Pac-10.

The only way a program can become a contender is by recruiting. Its the most crucial aspect of college football hands down. If you can’t get the talent to play for you, how do you plan to beat it? Sure there are a few seasons where a team with less talent knocks out the superior team in a conference thrillers (see OSU vs. USC in ’06 and ’08) but overall the team with the better recruits win the whole enchilada.

So how does Henderson leaving impact the Pac-10 as a whole? Well it opens the doors for the next two years for the other nine teams and in one year two more teams will improve their recruiting chances as well. I know ‘SC will still grab top notch recruits, but a handful of others will see this move by Henderson and may follow in his footsteps in deciding against committing there. So what does that mean? It means the conference is now as wide open in recruiting as it’s ever been.

There are so many schools in this conference that find it challenging to grab four or five star recruits, that when they grab three star’s its a successful recruiting year. Just in case you’re wondering which schools I’m referring to, let me help you out; Oregon State, Washington State, Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, and Colorado. The other 6 schools in the conference do fairly well against USC considering how successful ‘SC has been in the past decade.

So how much of a shakeup could this transferring 18 year old create? I think a huge shakeup. I would even go as far in saying that in the next two years you could see some highly touted recruits going to destinations that they can’t even point out on a map. With the Pac-10 title up in the air for the next two seasons we may see two different teams win the crown and thus create a balanced, powerful conference. If the conference ranks amongst one of the nations top (which it has several times in the past) then why wouldn’t the top six to seven teams be able to grab some four or five stars sitting on the fence about their futures?

I think if you’re a Trojan fan then Henderson leaving is one of just so many problems that have happened, and you just hope that Matt Barkley throws as many touchdowns this season as he does smiles at a camera. For the rest of the Pac-10? I think you’re ecstatic. Yeah, maybe Henderson isn’t going to another Pac-10 school, but he’s leaving LA, which means you won’t have to worry about him blocking your team.

USC ruled the Pac-10 and now they can’t even compete for it for two years, they landed possibly the best recruit in the Pac-10 and now they’ve lost him. If the king is dead then the throne is empty, who will take the crown? I don’t know, but I do know it’s no longer those three hated letters, U-S-C.

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