October 4th, 2012 at 9:32 AM ^

I can't think of an example of "lost opportunity" like Henson's.  He could have been a legendary M quarterback, possibly a Heisman winner.  Instead he's a guy who had 1 pretty good season for us while leaving his teammates with 4 years of Navarre's services due to the inability to recruit a qb in the 2 years around him.  Then he comes back to Ann Arbor and hangs around the program like he's Wangler or Hutch or Kramer.  The whole thing left a bad taste for me.  Like the OP says...good luck to him, but I hope all the cash he took from the Yankees is keeping him happy.


October 4th, 2012 at 10:06 AM ^

1. Navarre ended up being a very competent QB. The time for shitting on Navarre has long since passed. Henson leaving forced Navarre into the line-up one season too soon, but he ended up being just fine. Some of his accomplishments are listed here.

2. Henson was with the program for three seasons. It's not like he showed up, stuck around a semester, than bailed. He was part of the program for just as long a time as players like Charles Woodson or anyone else who opted for the draft after their junior season. It's pretty arrogant of you to state that he shouldn't be allowed to be around the program just because you're upset he left a season early.

3. Henson as squandered potential is prossibly the most obvious and well-covered narrative about him. The guy had a tough decision to make (football v. baseball), made it, and it didn't turn out very well for him. How's about we not pile on and complain about how he may have won more hypothetical games than Navarre had he stayed for one more season?


October 4th, 2012 at 11:23 AM ^

I'll respond to only one of these (and I don't have any real hate for Henson..just think he could have been the sort of kid for whom we might be discussing a patch had he made different choices).

1) Navarre was serviceable, but IMO not the sort of talent that warrants a full 4 years as Michigan's qb.  In any event, I have no interest in bashing JN, just pointing out that Henson came to M with the agreement that we not recruit a qb in the year prior to his arrival and we were unlikely to (and didn't) get a great qb recruit in his class or the class after.

2) Woodson accomplished at Michigan all a guy could accomplish.  He'd maximized his value in all ways and he left for the pros (as almost anyone would have).  I did not "state" that Henson shouldn't be allowed to leave...we're a free people and he did what he thought was best. So be it, but I don't have to like it, and comparing his situation with CW's is a stretch.

3) IMO he made choices throughout his early life that maximized value for him and when the money became availble he took it and left his team weaker.  What did he gain? well he got paid one year early.  What did he lose? likely legendary status at Michigan.  Henson was a gifted kid both as a student and athlete.  He could have made a choice to stick around another year and possibly make something special happen for himself and his team.  He made another perfectly reasonable choice, I just didn't care for it.

I shouldn't have made my original post.  I really don't care that much, or really at all when thoughts turn to this  great upcoming Saturday afternoon/evening of sports.


October 4th, 2012 at 6:14 PM ^

As soon as I saw this thread had 28 replies, I knew some idiot had, again, started the argument about how big of an asshole Drew Henson is for leaving football after his junior year.  

But you go so far as to say he shouldn't even be allowed to hang out on the sidelines like other program alums?  That's just proposterous.  What about David Terrell?  He also left a year early, and did almost nothing as a pro.  Should be not be allowed back?  Should the basketball program not allow Manny Harris back for games?  

What if Henson would have turned into a great baseball player?  Would you then be in favor of him coming back?  

Either way, just so we're clear on this, you think Drew Henson shouldn't be allowed to come back and be a part of the Michigan football family because after his junior year, and after playing maybe the best QB season a Michigan QB has ever had, he decided to take the millions of dollars the New York Yankees offered him to go play pro baseball?  And part of your reason for this is because Lloyd wasn't able to recruit another star QB after him?  

Seriously.  If Denard was offered millions of dollars to play a different sport after the 2011 season, would you blame him for taking it?  Especially when you knew it was a sport he loved and was approximately equally good at?  You just sound like a very selfish person.  Your football enjoyment trumps the players' best interests.


October 4th, 2012 at 11:51 AM ^

I think people are tougher on Henson for leaving early than they are against other players is threefold:

  1. Lloyd showed unprecidented commitment to Henson by agreeing to not recruit other QBs in the years around this recruitment.
  2. Henson didn't bail after his junior year to go and start his pro career in the sport he was playing on scholarship, plus he got bought out by a Buckeye.
  3. Henson bailed on Michigan in something of a rebuilding year and I think people felt he took the easy way out.

Number one is especially grating on fans because the recruiting agreements we made to get Henson to come to Michigan really put the program in a bind depth-wise for a few years and I know a lot of fans felt Henson owed us the same level of commitment we showed him.

Is that expectation reasonable?  No, and honestly Lloyd should've never put us in that positoin in the first place when he was courting Henson.  Still, I understand why fans reserve a little extra hate for Drew.


October 5th, 2012 at 11:15 AM ^

Lloyd showed unprecidented commitment to Henson by agreeing to not recruit other QBs in the years around this recruitment.

This point is definitely widely held by fans, but I think it's overblown. Carr's promise was to recruit no other QBs in Henson's class (which is normal) or in the year ahead of him. He did not promise not to recruit anyone in the following class (he actually signed two QBs that year - Navarre and Mignery).

The only really exceptional part of the promise was that Carr would not sign anyone in 1997. As it turned out, anyone he had signed that year would have already gone through four years in the program by the time the 2001 season arrived, and thus might not have even been around when Henson left.

When Henson left, we still had three scholarship QBs on the roster - Navarre, Mignery (both RS sophomores) and Jermaine Gonzales (RS freshman). That's not that bad. The real problem was just that none of the three was very good at that time.


October 4th, 2012 at 11:06 AM ^

Leaving aside the personal stuff about Henson, the 2001 season is one of the great "what ifs" in recent Michigan football. That team was supposed to be set up for a national title run, with a senior Henson, and 2 of the 3 regular season losses did turn on Navarre INTs* (the games against Washington and OSU) plus it's hard to see the clockgate game remaining close enough for Spartan Bob to work his magic. With Henson, they're at least even odds to go undefeated (Michigan dominanted the Washington game until the blocked FG/pick 6 combo and that was a very mediocre OSU team).

OTOH, the supporting cast is fairly underwhelming when you consider the talent standard on those late 1990s/earlyl 2000s teams. Terrell had left early, and the lead receiver was Marquise Walker, whom, while a great possession receiver, was not going to stretch the field. The remaining WR/TE corps was pretty meh: Ronald Bellamy, Calvin Bell, Tyrece Butler with Bill Seymour getting most of the TE time. It was also the first of two years that Perry and Askew split carries, neither of them putting up big numbers, and Jonathan Goodwin was the only starting lineman that had much of an NFL career. 

Furthermore, the defense got totally exposed in the bowl game against Tennessee and,  had Michigan run the table, they would have been playing a Miami team that is at least in the conversation for most dominant college football team in recent history, though we probably would have done better than that Nebraska team that rode their blowout loss to Colorado into the national championship game.


*On Navarre, I totally agree with the previous poster. He was forced to start a season too early, he became a very good QB, with 2003 being one of the best individual seasons a Michigan QB has had, and who carried the team late in 2002. He's absorbed far more grief from Michigan fans than he deserves.


October 4th, 2012 at 11:31 AM ^

That Michigan had graduated 4 of their 5 starters on the offensive line, and two of those guys (Steve Hutchinson, Dave Brandt) were 1st round NFL draft picks.  To characterize the 2001 team as a unit poised to win a National Championship is being generous.  2001 was always viewed as something of a rebuilding year.  Could Henson have made that process a little less difficult?  Probably.  I'm thinknig Henson took a look at the team returning versus the fat contract he was offered by the Yankees and made a fairly logical decision.  Was that decision frustrating since we showed him more commitment than we do to most recruits, absolutely.


October 4th, 2012 at 11:00 AM ^

was that his final season with us was my Freshman year, and I bought a #7 jersey and only got 1 year of proper use out of it, because I graduated before Henne was our starting QB.  I couldn't afford to buy a 2nd jersey at the time to replace it.  Other than that, he did what he wanted to do, I can't fault a guy for going pro early, it happens all the time.  I wish DH nothing but success in his new job.

Side note - in person Navarre was a nice guy, I had a class with him junior year.  I felt bad for him that he got so much grief from us at the time.


October 4th, 2012 at 11:37 AM ^

Navarre was the most beleaguered QB of Lloyd's tenure, no doubt.  Most of the criticism was unfair, too, in my opinion (although his penchant for getting passed knocked down at the line could be maddening).  Regardless, he remains the last QB to lead a Michigan team to an outright Big 10 conference title and the last QB to defeat Notre Dame, MSU, and Ohio all in a single season.


October 4th, 2012 at 2:33 PM ^

If he wasn't like 8 feet tall. Denard doesn't have that many knocked down, and he must be at least half a foot shorter.

But you're right, other than that, the only thing he did wrong was get stuck starting a year before it was planned for him to start. If he just starts 2002 and 2003, people think of him in a whole different light.

BOX House

October 4th, 2012 at 9:47 AM ^

Henson was definitely my first real "man-crush" as a Michigan fan, as I was just starting to really develop my obsession as a youngster. Good to hear about him.


October 4th, 2012 at 5:47 PM ^

I was also a young lad watching drew carve up the Eagle's. I was only in fifth grade though. I hated being one of the only wolverine fans out there. But at least we had Michigan's uniforms. Sidenote my cousin Kristen Cullen was also a pretty good basketball player at Hartland. Maybe you watched her play a time or two?


October 4th, 2012 at 12:22 PM ^

My first man crush at U of M was Scott Driesbach and regardless of all they did for Michigan,  I've always had a little bit of an issue with Griese and Brady for stealing some of Scott's rightful playing time.  However, Drew Henson was the first U of M player I followed starting from his recruitment (which was pretty damn hard to do in those days, especially for a middle schooler at the time), and thusly forged a completely new level of unhealthy man crushes for me.


October 4th, 2012 at 10:10 AM ^

The New York Post write-up was interesting as well - link

The Yankees' head of minor league operations said this about him, "One thing that’s intriguing is that he has had a lot of life experiences to this point. For no other reason other than that, maybe he can help the young guys.’’

I found this interesting because I think it is likely true about Henson, given his experiences with the professional ranks. It seems clear that he truly enjoys baseball and football but sadly could not get his pro footings stable in either, but I honestly do believe that makes him a good choice to help in a Rookie League. He always seemed like a sharp guy who did after all have the rare experience of playing two sports professionally for a time, and this seems like a great opportunity to be back around something he enjoys. Best of luck to him.



October 4th, 2012 at 10:40 AM ^

Steinbrenner was in the stands at the 'Shoe when Henson threw for 300+ yards and beat OSU with his arm/shoulder. Steinbrenner then signed him away to play short and/or third. Then he signed A-Rod.

Boo Yankees. Go Cubs (necessary sob).


October 4th, 2012 at 10:44 AM ^

Great news for Drew! I hate the Yankees, but always liked Henson. I thought he was always better than Brady at Michigan...look how that turned out.