When Seantrel Henderson came to the University of Miami in 2010 as the reigning USA Today High School Offensive Player of the Year, many believed he would be heading to the NFL after three seasons in college.
But on Monday, the 6-8, 340-pound right tackle, along with teammates Brandon Linder, a guard, and defensive tackle Curtis Porter, announced during a news conference that they will remain at Miami for their senior seasons.
The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NFL Draft is Tuesday.
All three juniors, wearing suits and ties, said they looked over the NFL Draft advisory board’s projections and knew the best decision would be to return. They would not reveal their projections.
“I thought it was best for me to stay here, graduate and continue on the journey with my teammates while trying to win,” said Henderson, a 2010 Freshman All-American and 2012 honorable mention All-ACC. “I think it means a lot to the team. It means a lot to everybody. Everybody in this building loves us, and they would love for us to stay as long as we can.”
Linder, an honorable mention All-ACC from Southwest Ranches, allowed only 1 1/2 sacks this past season and started all 12 games at right guard. He was asked what it says about their loyalty to stay another year despite the ongoing NCAA case involving UM.
He said it shows “I’m here for the four years and to get my degree and do something special here and leave a legacy. The stuff that was going on off the field, it happened. It doesn’t bother us. We’re just putting our heads down and grinding every day.”
Porter, who has missed much of his career with injuries but is believed to have the potential to be a significant talent if he could stay healthy and be consistent, according to UM coach Al Golden, said he wants to improve his technique, get stronger and more flexible and be “more of a leader.”
ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay told The Miami Herald two nights before the BCS National Championship Game that Henderson had “so much natural ability and the skill set to play in the NFL — the size, he moves well. But he would be making a big mistake if he left early for the NFL. If he cares and wants to make money he needs to come back and hit it hard — in the weight room, get focused, become more consistent with his technique and hands.
“The bar is here,’’ said McShay, lifting his hand over his head. “And he’s maybe a third of the way in terms of what he can be as a football player.”
A new QB
The Hurricanes have a new walk-on quarterback in 23-year-old Garrison Lassiter of High Point, N.C., UM confirmed.
Lassiter played the past five seasons as an infielder with the Yankees organization. He played football the first two years of high school.
UM interim athletic director Blake James said Monday he could not discuss anything involving the NCAA investigation and expected notice of allegations.