Drew Henson Originally Committed to FSU?

Submitted by marlon on December 11th, 2009 at 2:16 PM

According to the Heisman piece on the front of ESPN's college football page, Drew Henson had originally committed to play for Florida State. He switched his commitment to Michigan only after Chris Weinke decided to leave professional baseball to play quarterback for the Seminoles. Henson didn't want to compete for playing time with Weinke, so he chose Ann Arbor instead.

"[Weinke] called and asked if he could come back," Bowden said. "He was about ready to give up baseball because he wasn't making the progress he wanted to make. He wanted to know if we'd take him back." The Seminoles wanted Weinke back, but highly regarded quarterback Drew Henson of Brighton, Mich., had already committed to play for FSU. "He wasn't going to come if Weinke came," Bowden said. "We had to decide if we wanted Weinke or [Henson]. I know my vote was to bring Weinke back."



December 11th, 2009 at 2:20 PM ^

I don't remember this happening. I'm pretty sure that Henson committed to Lloyd before his senior year with the agreement that he wouldn't recruit any other QBs that year.

Of course, this is before recruiting coverage took off so it could have happened and we never knew about it.


December 11th, 2009 at 2:21 PM ^

I doubt that anyone here can say with certainty that Henson was an FSU commit, but Bowden had been recruiting Henson heavily and there was mutual interest from Henson (was he a commit or just a recruit? hard to say and I don't know).

Bowden had promised Weinke that there would be a place for him at FSU should he decide to return to college football. And when Weinke decided to return to play college football, Bowden honored his promise and gave him a spot on the roster.


December 11th, 2009 at 3:50 PM ^

He wasn't nearly as good at baseball as he was at football. He would have been the #1 pick in the draft in 2002 if he had stayed and he probably would have made more money in two or three years in the NFL than he made in his entire baseball career. Leaving Michigan for the MLB was a colossal fuckup by Henson.


December 11th, 2009 at 4:11 PM ^

$10 million collasal f.u. when I was 20.

I hear what you're saying, and in retrospect it's clear he didn't have big league talent, but at time a lot of people thought he was going to be playing 3rd base for the Yankess for a decade or more. The Yankees sure did. Had that happened, the MLB money would have been a no brainer.


December 11th, 2009 at 6:48 PM ^

he tears his knee the following season, and walks with a limp for the rest of his life. He took the prize instead of door #2. I personally would have continued with football, because it's the sport I love. However, I think it's reasonable to take the $10,000,000 or whatever up front. Playing in the Yankees organization, rich, young, and in New York would be enticing to a lot of people. Also, hindsight is always 20/20.


December 11th, 2009 at 4:45 PM ^

Brady played perhaps the greatest half in the history of Michigan football. I believe that he threw in a neighborhood of 400 yards and 4 TDs.

Brady was benched in the first half for some reason. Brady was red hot in the 2nd half and came up just short in an epic comeback attempt.


December 11th, 2009 at 4:58 PM ^

Wasn't the setup at the time that Brady would get the first quarter, Henson the second, and whomever played better would start the second half? It was definitely something like that, and it was infuriating. Brady consistently outplayed Henson, and I think Lloyd scrapped the system after the MSU game and gave Brady all of the meaningful snaps. ARGH.


December 11th, 2009 at 6:16 PM ^

You recall correctly. I was at that game. As I recall, there was no reason to take Brady out, but for the platooning system.

One of my beefs with Lloyd. I'm sure he promised it to Henson in recruiting, and then Drew ditched for the Yanks instead of sticking around for his senior year. I'm sure Lloyd felt a little betrayed by that. Which is also probably one of the reasons he stuck around to coach Long, Hart and Henne as seniors -- they made the commitment to stick around and so did he.


December 11th, 2009 at 7:07 PM ^

Carr actually went one more week (Illinois, which we also lost) before scrapping the two-QB system. Usually, Brady clearly outperformed Henson and it was obvious he'd play in the second half. But against Syracuse, Henson really did outperform him in the first half, and played the rest of the way (only to struggle badly in the second half).

In the MSU game, neither QB did much in the first half. Brady led us on a single FG drive, while Henson threw an 80-yard TD. Other than that, we did nothing offensively. (Mike DeBord was the OC and we were in our usual "establish the run against a stacked defensive front" routine.) At the half, Carr decided to go with the QB who had thrown the TD. I would have gone with Brady based on the season up to that point, but based solely on this game, it was a defensible move. Unfortunately, Henson struggled in the third quarter and we fell behind big. Brady didn't have enough time to lead us back after that.


December 11th, 2009 at 6:19 PM ^

MSU's defense played lights out in the third quarter. Henson had no time to do anything and Brady wouldn't have either. We made it close after Brady came in for the 4th, but the bigger factor was that MSU wasn't playing with anywhere near the same level of intensity.


December 11th, 2009 at 2:27 PM ^

Question on eligibility, off topic I know but still. If someone decides to enter the NFL draft as a Junior but does not hire an agent and goes undrafted can they still return to school for their senior year?


December 11th, 2009 at 2:27 PM ^

FSU was definitely involved, and Carr promised Henson that he wouldn't recruit any big-time QBS within 2 years behind him... a promise that left UM high and dry with a converted DE/backup QB named Navarre when Henson bolted.

Clearly that story was loosely collected from hearsay and my best recollection, not sure how true it is - but its undisputed that FSU was a major player for Henson.


December 11th, 2009 at 3:51 PM ^

Both FSU and Michigan promised not to recruit any QBs in Henson's year (1998) or the year above him (1997). Nothing was ever promised about the classes that followed.

I don't think Henson ever committed to FSU. If he did, it wasn't public and couldn't have lasted for very long, because he committed here as a high school junior (and helped recruit many of his classmates).

Blue In NC

December 11th, 2009 at 9:33 PM ^

I think jmblue has it right here. As I remember it, UM had been on Henson but then Drew got a promise from Bowden that FSU would not recruit others if he committed. Drew then took that and basically asked Carr if he would match it. The idea is that if Carr did not, then Henson would go to FSU. But Carr agreed and the rest is history. IIRC.


December 11th, 2009 at 3:36 PM ^

To all of those people who who say "I don't think Henson ever committed to FSU":

I think Bobby Bowden probably knows more about the situation than you do, even if he is too old to do his job well anymore. I don't know why we should trust Random Internet Message Board Guy over, you know, the coach who says he received Henson's commitment.

On a side note, we played Henson when I was in high school. The Brighton Bulldogs were dicks, but they were a good football team back then. Dave Pearson (former Michigan center) played for them, too. He hit me. Hard. He didn't knock me on my ass, though, so at least I can be proud of that.


December 11th, 2009 at 4:02 PM ^

agree. why would bowden lie? anyway i also played against henson in high school but instead of dave pearson being the other brighton bulldog on the team i got to go against clint copenhaver. he hit me. hard. he did knock me down on my ass and it hurt really bad. that guy was a f'in beast in high school.


December 11th, 2009 at 4:17 PM ^

Why are you so hostile all the time? That tone was entirely unncessary.

I followed Henson's recruitment pretty closely. I don't believe he was ever committed to FSU. If he was, it had to have been before his junior year of high school, because he committed to us that fall. It certainly was never reported publicly.

If you look above again, Bowden is never quoted saying Henson was committed; the ESPN writer threw that in himself. Bowden is just quoted as saying that FSU preferred Weinke to Henson.


December 11th, 2009 at 5:31 PM ^

Why are you so insistent that Henson never committed to FSU? Congratulations on following Henson's recruitment closely. I don't know you, but I'm assuming you're not his father or brother. Therefore, I trust a writer who probably a) heard that come out of Bowden's mouth or b) heard from independent sources that Henson had committed to FSU first.

I know the media aren't perfect, but I still trust them over Random Internet Message Board Guys, just like you should probably trust journalists over me.


December 11th, 2009 at 6:10 PM ^

If you want to call a "Silent commit" a commitment then I suppose it's possible. But there was no public commitment that I recall. Whatever commitment he may have made was certainly less of one that Shaved Beaver or Newsome gave to us . . .

Blue In NC

December 11th, 2009 at 9:37 PM ^

Exactly. There was no public commitment but it was reported that Henson was going to FSU unless Carr matched Bowden's offer of not recruiting another QB. There could have been a silent but it came off as if Drew leveraged Bowden's offer into a similar UM promise.

Plus, who's to say that Bowden even remembers Henson - he sometimes looks as if he can just figure out who FSU is playing (kidding but you get the point).


December 11th, 2009 at 9:51 PM ^

in April 98...about Henson and his family..(mom was pretty hot)...and it indicated that Henson committed early and attempted to help UM recruit kids during the season....so if there was an earlier oral commitment, it appeared fairly cleared up by the season start in 97....

From that article:

Henson was such a good prospect that at a Florida State football camp in 1996, the summer between his sophomore and junior seasons, Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden offered not only a scholarship but also the uncommon guarantee that no other quarterback would be given a scholarship for the next two seasons.

This was an offer soon matched by Michigan's Lloyd Carr, along with a pledge that he wouldn't ask Henson to redshirt. Henson accepted that November, effectively stopping the great college recruiting war before it really began. Better to concentrate on his future. Better to plan. He would not just go to Michigan, he would go to Michigan prepared. By last fall he was part of the Wolverines' recruiting team, helping persuade perhaps the two best wide receiver prospects in the country, Marquis Walker and David Terrell, to join him in Ann Arbor. By the end of the spring—fitting this in between whacking all of those home runs and striking out all of those batters—he had learned the Wolverines offense.


December 11th, 2009 at 3:42 PM ^

-8 huh so y'all are saying you were happy he quit, and screwed the team over....if he wanted to play baseball, he should not have strung the team, and university along...how'd that work out for him anyway? couldn't even latch on to the lions..


December 11th, 2009 at 7:04 PM ^

No, we're saying you were flat-out wrong that Brady didn't start all those games. Now you're chopping your argument in half to excise the factual information that you got wrong.

But to answer your question "How'd that work out for him anyway?", I'm guessing it helped him out monetarily more than any choice you've made will help you. He's probably rich, played in the NFL, played in the minors, and had a cup of coffee with the Yankees. I'd say that's pretty good.


December 11th, 2009 at 7:24 PM ^

pretty sure Brady lost starts to Henson, so your post really doesn't make sense. As for the money, life is not all about money, I serve in the Air Force and I can tell you I don't make all that much money, but at least I have pride in what I do. What can Henson be proud of? Being mediocre at baseball, and because of it losing out on a real chance to accomplish something in football.


December 11th, 2009 at 10:25 PM ^

Brady started every single game when Henson was around. You are flat-out wrong. Wikipedia isn't the best source, but I really don't feel like looking it up any further because I know it's true.

"Brady battled for the starting job with Drew Henson, ultimately starting every game in the 1998 and 1999 seasons under Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr."

Stop spewing bullshit about Drew Henson just because he left your beloved Wolverines. Congratulations on being in the Air Force. That is an honorable career.

At the same time, it doesn't give you the right to say that Drew Henson has nothing to be proud of. He played quarterback for the Michigan Wolverines, he played quarterback in the NFL, and he played professional baseball; he also earned millions of dollars in the process.

You don't have to like him, but saying that he has nothing to be proud of is ignorant at best.


December 11th, 2009 at 11:35 PM ^

I concede my statement on starts was wrong, I was thinking about playing time. So I was wrong it happens. I don't need to be given the right to say anything about Henson, 1. He played in a grand total of 8 games in MLB "He ended his brief major league career with only one hit in nine at bats" 2. He was in the NFL a total of 2 full years, not sure of how many games he played in, but there weren't many. He was cut or released from the Cowboys, Vikings, and Lions. The last two teams being the best part. He couldn't beat out Tavaris Jackson, or anyone on the Lions. I mean I guess he can be proud of the fact that he has had better careers then some, but he had promise. Say what you want. I am done talking about a quitter. Maybe you want to stick up for some other quitters? Mallet? Boren? Clemons?

SoCal Blue

December 11th, 2009 at 4:21 PM ^

HUGE Michigan fan growing up in Minnesota, he said that LLoyf told him that he wasn't interested in anyone who wanted to play baseball after the Henson fiasco. He basically lost interest in Michigan after that. Mute point after being the 2nd Pick(?) but thought it related to the topic. I work in MLB and had a conversation with him about FSU and he offered the info about michigan after i mentioned that i was a huge fan of the maize and blue.


December 11th, 2009 at 4:37 PM ^

in response to a copenhaver reference - i was a freshman at brighton high school when clint was a junior. for a few months during that year he dated a freshman female who was two lockers down from me. he took up so much space while visiting her between classes that i could barely get my books. thanks for the memories, i'm glad i never played football against that guy.