February 28th, 2013 at 10:31 AM ^

Why be bitter?  Maybe because the year Henson left was set up to be "his year," and he was bought off by OSU superfan George Steinbrenner.  Maybe because John Navarre was forced into action as a freshman, and a potential national championship team went 8-4 during what would have been his senior year.  

I would advise him to take the money in this day and age, but back then, it wasn't how things were done.  Henson blind-sided Michigan with his decision.  I still have mixed emotions over this, because I have done a 180 on my opinion of early entries since then.  

In this case, it might have turned out better for all concerned if he had stayed at Michigan.  Henson ruined his chances of being an NFL QB when he left, but he did make a nice "chunk of change" with the Yankees, and you never know if he would have been injured or not.  I hope he saved his money.

I do find it ironic that he is a hitting coach.  The thought of Drew Henson getting paid to teach someone how to hit a major league curveball is sorta funny.


February 28th, 2013 at 11:35 AM ^

No, it was Henson's pre-season foot injury that forced a freshman Navarre onto the field for three or four games. Navarre was a soph when he took over after Buckeye Steinbrenner bought of Henson.

Henson could have been as great as Bo Jackson could have been if neither had dicked around with baseball.


February 28th, 2013 at 12:50 PM ^

While I am still frustrated at the lack of commitment shown to Michigan by Drew Henson when we showed him an unprecedented level of commitment during our recruitment of him, 2001 was not set up to be "his year".  The 2001 squad was breaking in 4 new starters on the O-line, replacing David Terrell with Russell Bellomy at WR, and Anthony Thomas with BJ Askew at TB.  The defense featured a lot of return starters, but few elite talents beyond Larry Foote and Marlin Jackson.  This notion that Michigan would've been a national championship contender with Drew Henson at QB in 2001 is ridiculous and just a tool employed by bitter fans to tarnish his legacy at Michigan.


February 28th, 2013 at 2:21 PM ^

The schedule was very soft that year and we were in every regular season game in spite of poor quarterback play. Considering that QBs make receivers look good far more than the other way around, it's not unreasonable to think that Michigan could have been in the NC game that year with Henson (before getting inevitably hosed by Miami in Pasadena).

I, for one, don't want Henson's legacy tarnished at all. I consider his 2000 season to be the gold standard for Michigan QB play and I admire that he stuck with school and graduated on time. People saying he "shouldn't have taken money from a Buckeye" need to grow up. He followed the future he had the most passion for when opportunity knocked, just like all college students are supposed to.


Spontaneous Co…

February 28th, 2013 at 9:11 AM ^

What a life.  He's gone through so much that his perspective at age 33 is probably more reasoned than men 10 years older.  As he explains it, you can really envision feeling the way he did at age 23 - being frustrated and wanting to get on the big stage.  And his hindsight is perfect, "What was my hurry?  I was only 23.  Who cares if it takes another 18 months at AAA?"

Seems like he's got great perspective on things now.


February 28th, 2013 at 9:16 AM ^

Reading the last several questions, I was intrigued by his answers, especially in that he doesn't necessarily regret leaving baseball (because, as he mentions, he would not have then moved to Dallas, met his wife, and so forth). His perspective is certainly well-considered.

 In a perhaps odd sort of way, this career is something for which he does have a unique qualification. He's had a combination of experiences that probably would make him a good mentor to the guys just starting out in baseball, even aside from a knowledge of the game picked up from playing it. I imagine he'll make a pretty good coach in that regard. Good luck to Drew in this new chapter, as well as with his soon-to-be family (also mentioned).

Thanks for sharing this, OP.


February 28th, 2013 at 9:26 AM ^

...link. That is an unusally open and frank interview. 

I remember going to a Richmond Braves vs. Columbus Clippers game and giving Henson a loud "Go Blue" when he came up to bat. Pretty sure he went 1-4 that night with a few strikeouts. He flashed incredible potential, but just wasn't able to put it all together.

Glad to know that Henson has his head screwed on straight and has this opportunity to pursue his passion. 



February 28th, 2013 at 9:37 AM ^

As a Yankee fan, I still think that Big Stein gave him that deal partially to sabotage Michigan. It's dumb, makes no business sense and is easily refutable, but this is still Steinbrenner.

But hopefully his finds fulfillment in coaching.


February 28th, 2013 at 10:36 AM ^

Glad to see Drew doing well.

The rough thing about his departure from Michigan was the timing. He announced he was going pro after National Signing Day, leaving Michigan in a bad spot. Carr didn't recruit a QB the year before Drew or the year he committed. That was the deal he made with Henson to get him to Michigan. Of course, that meant there weren't many QB options on the roster when Henson suddenly bolted.

I still think Steinbrenner offered Henson the big payday to stick it to Michigan.

BOX House

February 28th, 2013 at 10:46 AM ^

Henson was my favorite athlete growing up. He was a legend in Southeastern Michigan. I was in awe that someone who broke the state home run record and was going to play football at Michigan could have grown up basically in the same place I did. I don't think you ever forget those childhood heroes.

gustave ferbert

February 28th, 2013 at 10:49 AM ^

I remember during Henson's recruitment, I heard rumors swirling around that he promised Drew (actually it was probably more Drew's dad/agent) that he would not recruit another quarterback and he would play his Freshman year.  

There is that great piece on youtube (the brady six) that accentuated the corner Lloyd backed himself into especially during the MSU game in 1999(?).   

Our fall back was a freshman Navarre, and Lloyd actually said at an alumni function when asked that he knew Drew would leave early to play baseball.   

And Steinbrenner absolutely had something to do with it.  What's a couple of million to a $100 million payroll to salvage a rivalry that went 2-10-1 in the prior 13 years and just lost in Columbus? But it's Carr's fault for not being prepared for the contingency or making the promise to the Henson's.  

True Blue Grit

February 28th, 2013 at 11:27 AM ^

season w/o Henson, was it basically cost us the first game against Tressel.  Ohio had a crappy team that year and the only way they beat us in Ann Arbor is because of the tire fire we were left with at QB.  Navarre was ill-prepared to be the starter at that point.  To this day, that was one of the hardest games to watch at Michigan Stadium that I can remember.  


February 28th, 2013 at 8:14 PM ^

Carr deserves at least as much blame for the poor QB recruitment and development of Navarre.  You shouldn't be royally screwed if somone decides to leave early.  Also, in one of the ESPN specials on Brady, I recall NFL talent people talking about what a poor job Michigan did of developing, which lead to lack of confidence about Brady.


February 28th, 2013 at 11:56 AM ^

Navarre took over for Henson his Soph year after playing a few games in his freshman year. I do think that Henson leaving cost us a NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP and him the #1 overall pick in the NFL draft. The Texans said it themselves they would of selected Henson instead if Carr.

The hardest part was watching the Unexperienced NAVARRE at the Rose Bowl vs UCLA sitting there in person on the 50 yard line in the Suite watching as he just threw picks and made mistakes etc, by the way it was about 115 degrees on the field that day.

I'm still fuming like I was there yeaterday!!!


February 28th, 2013 at 12:40 PM ^

How can a guy, in 3 seasons at AAA, batting only .234, and 9 MLB plate appearances (3K's) and a BA of .111, get a gig as a batting coach?  

According to baseball-reference.com:



EDIT: I know 9 MLB plate appearances is a small sample size, but I thought it was worth noting.  
He never stuck in the majors because he couldn't hit.  Now, he's a batting coach???


February 28th, 2013 at 2:00 PM ^

He's not even converting on 1/3 of his opportunities...at AAA.  That was 6 years in AAA.  That's a large enough sample size, at a high enough level of baseball to determine that the guy just couldn't hit.  

I thought he was a great quarterback.  I wish he would have stayed at Michigan for his senior season, but I don't know many people that would have turned that kind of money down.  I know, I know Jake Long and Taylor Lewan turned down more.  

I'm just surprised that a guy with that resume would be considered, much less hired as a batting coach.  

Good luck to him.  

Ty Butterfield

February 28th, 2013 at 1:02 PM ^

Henson leaving just screwed Michigan. I really think Michigan would have had a legitimate shot at the national title if he had stayed. There was also talk of the agreement Carr made to not recruit a QB in the class after Henson came in. Totally crazy if true. Still pissed about this whole thing.


February 28th, 2013 at 2:34 PM ^

Lloyd Carr was just as culpable for not having/preparing a capable backup for Henson.  

Henson could have blown a knee (John Wangler), broken an arm (John Harbaugh), torn his labrum (Matt Gutierrez), injured an ulner nerve (Denard), etc.  

A team can't count on any player to remain heathly throughout his career - especially a QB who is a prime target of opposing defenses.


February 28th, 2013 at 10:30 PM ^

Henson admit any regret at not playing his Senior year at Michigan. I always wondered (and still do) if he really didn't regret it or if he just wouldn't admit it.

I wonder what his advise would be to other athletes about leaving early.