SAN ANTONIO - Seantrel Henderson - all, 6-8, 340 pounds of him - glided through the hotel lobby with reporters and seemingly everyone else reaching out their hands. He stopped for a few questions from eager journalists but as the nation's top recruit in 2010 he managed the crowd as he handles overmatched defensive linemen.
With his giddy grandmother in tow, the Minnesota native had a bead on the elevator. It became a think-quick moment. I moved in and asked if I could speak with him as he walked. He obliged.
I don't want to get anyone's hopes up here. I'm going to report what he said and my observations of body language.
Seantrel perked up when I mentioned I was from Iowa. He's been pounded by the recruiting analysts from USC, Ohio State, etc. since he arrived here for the U.S. Army All-American game earlier this week. Actually, he's been hounded since this time last year.
First question out of the gate (I had about a minute before we hit the elevators) - So, Seantrel, does Iowa have any shot? (No sense wasting his time)
"Yes, sir," he said with a serious face.
I ask the big man what keeps Iowa in the picture.
"You know, Iowa is having the best season that they ever had," Henderson said. "They produce linemen every year. I've always liked Iowa. Coach (Kirk) Ferentz is an offensive line coach himself. They've been playing good."
Iowa commitment C.J. Fiedorowicz happens to pass by us and fakes a shoulder shot into Seantrel.
"Stop playing," Henderson says with a smile. "There's a Hawkeye right there."
I say, ‘Yeah, you can play with him., right?'
"Yup," Seantrel said.
As Scout.com's No. 1 overall prospect, Seantrel Henderson gets to pick any school in the country. He does the recruiting.
Some of the analysts in our Scout network feel like Iowa doesn't fit in with the big boys when it comes to the standout lineman. He disagrees.
"I don't think you can say that," Henderson said. "You just can't bump Iowa out like that because Iowa is Iowa. Iowa is one of the best Big Ten schools that's been playing good, you know? You can't bump Iowa out like that just because they're not that big (name) school, you know?"
Henderson has officially visited USC, Ohio State, Florida and Notre Dame. He said this week he is still deciding on his fifth and final official trip allowed by NCAA rules.
Henderson unofficially visited Iowa for the Hawkeyes season finale against Minnesota in November. He liked it.
Might Iowa be in line for that fifth and final visit.
"Yes sir," Seantrel said.
I push a little harder and ask him what that choice might come down to knowing full well he's kept that decision close to the vest.
"I don't know," he said politely. "I just have to talk to my parents and see where I want to take my last visit."
And with that, the big man stepped onto the elevator, which got a challenge.
Seantrel Henderson is the most prized prospect left on the board for the Class of 2010. Most recruiting analysts have written off Iowa in the race for his services. He has not. Read what he had to say in this HI.com update.
Nation's No. 1 Prospect Says He Likes Ferentz, Hawkeyes