- Erik McKinney, ESPN Staff Writer
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USC head coach Lane Kiffin had his turn to make an in-home visit with Seantrel Henderson, the nation's top-rated offensive lineman, on Wednesday night. And he certainly didn't go it alone.
Kiffin brought defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach Ed Orgeron and offensive line coach James Cregg with him on the visit, pulling out all the stops in an effort to land the best offensive tackle in the nation.
"We were impressed," said Sean Henderson, Seantrel's father. "They did a great job in a real short amount of time."
With so many schools after Henderson, no coaching staff has been able to dominate the big man's time, and that's been especially true over the last two weeks. With in-home visits with Minnesota, Notre Dame and Ohio State last week, as well as meetings with Florida, USC and Miami this week, the Henderson's have been able to perfect the art of the in-home visit.
"We try to get them to make their best impression on him," Henderson said. "We want them to put their best foot forward and give him as much information as they can, because there is a very small window of opportunity for him to make this decision come next Wednesday."
Though the group of Trojan coaches who were with Henderson last night have only been at USC for a few weeks in their respective roles, the four of them have put in plenty of time together on the recruiting trail at Tennessee, and that familiarity is paying off.
"The chemistry is there with those coaches," Henderson said. "They are all very aware of their roles. Lane is the head coach and you can see that in how he handles himself. His father's spirit is unbelievable. He has a great energy. With Coach O, there's a real strong support there. And Coach Cregg, he said the least, but you could tell that if (Seantrel) chooses USC, his relationship would be with him and he would be putting in the most work with him." Henderson said that his son wasn't familiar with Cregg while the line coach was at Tennessee, but they found out everything they could as quickly as they could.
"We do our homework on coaches," Henderson said.
A homework assignment with plenty of recent reading material for Sean and Seantrel has been Kiffin, who has received two weeks of constant media attention for his decision to leave Tennessee for Southern California.
"He's a great person," Henderson said of Kiffin, obviously not buying what the mainstream media has been selling. "He had an opportunity and did what was best for him and his family. What [the media isn't] saying is that he was part of [USC's] success in a big way before. It's not like he just jumped up and left Tennessee for any job."
It's understandable that Henderson has a working knowledge of the coaching transition at USC. Those kinds of situations have become almost a hobby for Seantrel's finalists.
"We were able to relax on Christmas Eve and Christmas," Henderson said, laughing when asked if there's been any sort of break in the recruiting craziness. "Then, the day after that, Urban Meyer was on TV talking about retiring. And we'd just gotten over Charlie Weis being fired at Notre Dame. It shows you that these guys are the greatest salesmen in the world and anything can happen at any time."
One thing that seemingly has an exact date at this point is Henderson's announcement, which likely won't come until signing day. And when it happens, it's likely that his father will be hearing it with the rest of us.
"Once every now and then I ask him if he knows what he wants to do," Henderson said. "In fact, I asked him last night. He always says, 'No,' and that's it. I don't pry. The decision will be 100-percent his. I don't have a favorite. His mother doesn't have a favorite. The less input any of us have on where he should go, the easier it will make it on him."
Of course, the longer Henderson waits, the tougher he makes it on the fan bases of his remaining finalists. He will make his fifth and final official visit – to Miami – this weekend and will likely spend the following few days deciding amongst Minnesota, Notre Dame, Miami, Florida, Ohio State and USC.
A look around at some of the best ESPN affiliate team sites have to offer today. Some of the following links may require a premium subscription to the ESPN affiliate site.
Florida State (www.noleinsider.com)
Texas A&M ( www.texags.com )