While few were surprised to hear the news of four star OT Austin Clark committing to the Gamecocks yesterday, news of a second commitment caught fans and insiders off guard. But on Thursday evening, shortly after Clark's announcement, linebacker prospect Jalen Henry committed to the program while on an unofficial visit.
At this point, the 6'0", 200 lb. Foley, AL native has flown under the recruiting radar. Henry's offer sheet is cluttered with mid-majors, and his official 247 page lists Southern Miss as the only other school of interest. This sort of thing inevitably causes trepidation among fans thirsty for star recruits, but it's worth noting Henry missed most of his junior season with a foot injury which could explain the lack of attention. Henry is currently unrated by any major outlets.
That said, linebackers coach Kirk Botkin liked Henry enough to offer. In a free article published by The Big Spur, Henry's current coach, Todd Watson, explained the rising senior's appeal:
"He is just a super kid, a good student, a good leader. He loves the weight room. He just eats, sleeps and breathes football. I could sit here and go on all night about him. He's really the kind of kid you enjoy coaching."
Wouldn't it be funny if a coach said something like, "The kid's a loose cannon. Good luck the staff, they're gonna need it." That said, Watson seems unsurprised that Henry was sniffed out by a major program. By the way, if you're into high school highlights, here they are:
I'm no film guru but he seems smashy with a side of 'tude, and don't forget that he's a sophomore in most of those clips.
Henry joins four-star prospect and fellow Botkin recruit Sherrod Pittman as the second linebacker commitment in the 2015 cycle. He also joins Jalen Christian as the second Jalen of the 2015 cycle. South Carolina now lays claim to 8% of all available Jalens in the class. There are 25 Jalens in the 2015 class. So many Jalens.
Should Henry sign in February, he would be the third Alabama native to join the team in the past three seasons, joining 2013 linebacker Jonathon Walton and 2014 defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth. I'm not saying it's a pipeline, but it's a pipeline.