2022 OC (center) Eli Henderson (6-4 288) of Byrnes is projected as one of the state’s top players in the junior class. He has played tackle and guard, and this season he will move fulltime to center, which likely will be his college position. Georgia and Arkansas are his two offers at this point. Georgia was first when then offensive line coach Sam Pittman offered. When he became head coach at Arkansas, one of his first offers from there went out to Henderson. The two have become close.
“I talk with them once or twice a week each,” Henderson said. “Coach Davis (OL coach Brad Davis) at Arkansas, and Coach Pittman at Arkansas are like really tight with me. I talk with them all the time. When all of this gets done, I’m supposed to be going out to Arkansas to spend some time with them. Coach Pittman, he gave me his first offer when he was at Georgia before he went to Arkansas. He’s real supportive in anything I do other than just recruitingwise.”
Those two offers have placed those two SEC schools on top of the list with Henderson.
“Where I’m sitting at right now, I really, really like Arkansas,” Henderson said. “At the same time, Georgia is Georgia and I have really good ties with coach Eddie Gordon (offensive GA) at Georgia. Also, Matt Luke, the guy coming in, is doing good things there. We’ve talked with him many, many times. I like it there, too. I love both of those colleges right now.”
Clemson and USC are very aware of Henderson. He has been to both and camped at both. And he’s heard from both, just not like he has from the other schools.
“As of right now, I’ve talked a little more with Clemson than I have South Carolina at this point,” Henderson said. “Clemson has contacted my coaches and my school. We’ve tried to continue that bond and relationship with the coaches. As far as South Carolina, I’ve heard on and off from them, but not as much as I used to to be honest with you.”
Henderson said Clemson offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell has been his primary contact with the Tigers. He’s explained his approach to recruiting and offering younger players.
“They told me they don’t like to offer young,” Henderson said. “They didn’t want me to think they weren’t interested in me. They wanted me to know that they are interested in me. And I’m moving to center this season, so they want to see some film on that. That’s completely understandable. They just want to make sure they want me. I understand that.”
Henderson said he grew up a Gamecock fan, a trait he inherited from his dad. He’s certainly hoping to hear more from them once they see him this season at center. But he’s not letting past allegiances get in the way of his decision.
“I’ll be honest with you, when I realzed that there is a chance for me to be a college football player, play D-1 and play on Saturday’s, I kind of threw that out the window,” Henderson said. “I didn’t want to go into the whole recruiting process as a wide-eyed fan boy, not looking for the best opportunity versus I just like the school. I really wanted to go in there with no bias and see what’s best for me.”
Henderson also has visited Virginia Tech, Georgia and Louisville. Notre Dame and Penn State also have expressed interest. He is not yet rated by Rivals and 247Sports.