In 30 years of evaluating high school football talent, I've never singled out an offensive lineman as the No. 1 player in the nation--until now.
Orlando Pace, Jonathan Ogden and Bill Fralic came close. But no cigar.
In my view, 6-7, 300-pound offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson of Cretin-Derham High School in St. Paul, Minn., is the No. 1 player in the class of 2010.
Henderson hails from the same school that produced Heisman Trophy winner Chris Wienke, American League batting chapion Joe Mauer and wide receiver Michael Floyd, who will be a freshman at Notre Dame next fall.
He has been offered by Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Florida, Iowa and Minnesota and USC will offer in May. He is only 15 years old. He has 4.7 speed, runs like a linebacker, has great feet, great athleticism, plays right and left tackle at times and looks thin at 300 pounds.
Barring injury, he will be a No. 1 choice in the NFL draft. Before his junior year, he will have 20 offers. Many schools got a jump on him because they noticed him while they were scouting Floyd last year. His teammate, lineman Joe Schafer, committed to Wisconsin--and Henderson is better than he is.
I was impressed with Henderson when I saw him at the U.S. Army Combine in San Antonio in January. He is on a par with Pace, whom I saw coming out of high school in Sandusky, Ohio, in the early 1990s.
The best seniors in Minnesota are 6-6, 250-pound tight end Ra'Shede Hageman of Minneapolis, 6-2, 175-pound wide receiver Bryce McNeal of Minneapolis and 6-6, 230-pound quarterback Moses Alipate of Bloomington.
Every school in the Big Ten except Illinois and Ohio State has offered McNeal. Alipate, whose father played for the Minnesota Vikings, is committed to Minnesota.
Iowa's three best players are 5-11, 190-pound running back Brandon Wegher of Sioux City, 6-7, 285-pound offensive tackle Dave Barret of Des Moines and 6-3, 190-pound wide receiver Keenan Davis of Cedar Rapids.
Wegher, who reminds me of running back Sam McGuffie, a Michigan signee, averaged nine yards per carry last year and ran 100 meters in 10.8 seconds as a sophomore. He has been offered by Illinois, Iowa, Penn State, Wisconsin, Auburn and Texas Tech.
Barret has been offered by Illinois, Iowa, Northwestern, Nebraska, Minnesota and Michigan State. Davis has been offered by Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Two Missouri quarterbacks to watch are 6-2, 190-pound Nathan Scheelhaase of Kansas City Rockhurst and 6-0, 200-pound Jordan Webb of Union.
Scheelhaase, who has 4.5 speed and can run a spread offense, impressed at the U.S. Army Combine in San Antonio. He has been offered by Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas and Stanford.
Webb, who has an outstanding arm, has been offered by Kansas.