Update on the 3 ex-Tennessee football commits from Georgia

Former longtime Tennessee commit Khalid Henderson now calls his controversial de-commitment from the Volunteers “a blessing in disguise.”

“I just want to say I’m happy with the fact that I’ve been able to choose the direction I want to go in,” Henderson said. “By going through the recruiting process again, it allowed me to get a better overall perspective on which is college is the right match for me.”

Henderson, a linebacker from Pebblebrook High School, was one of three Georgia prospects committed Tennessee that recently parted ways with the Volunteers in a one-month period.

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Henderson de-committed on Jan. 1 after he said Derek Dooley told him there was the “possibility” he might not be able to come to Tennessee. Henderson, who had been pledged to Tennessee for six months, on that conversation: “I thought it was a bunch of crap.”

Derek Dooley still had four commits from Georgia after "parting ways" with three others (AP photo)

Derek Dooley still has four commits from Georgia after "parting ways" with three others (AP photo)

The other two ex-Tennessee commits from Georgia are North Hall RB Imani Cross (now considering Nebraska, Kentucky, Virginia and East Carolina) and Columbia WR Keithon Redding (considering Marshall, Ole Miss and Mississippi State).

What’s the latest with Henderson? He said he picked up a scholarship offer from Kentucky on Wednesday, and scheduled an official visit for Jan. 27. He is going to Ole Miss on Friday and took a recruiting trip to Central Florida last weekend. Maryland, Wake Forest and Duke have also been in contact.

“I’m glad I got it out there when I did about de-committing, because that let other schools know that I was available,” Henderson said. “I’ve had a lot of colleges come up to the school or talk to my coaches after they read about it.”

Henderson recalled a conversation he had with Duke coach David Cutcliffe, the former Tennessee offensive coordinator, a few weeks ago: “[Cutcliffe] said he understood my situation, and that’s not how they do business.”

How does Henderson reflect upon his divorce from Tennessee? “I mean, it’s business. That’s how Tennessee wanted to deal with the situation. I’ve been keeping up with their recruiting and I know they’re after other linebackers … but it’s just a business.

“After [Dooley] started talking about ‘possibilities,’ I had to go in a different direction. You can’t go through life living on possibilities. You want to go to a place where people stick by their word. After the way everything went down at Tennessee, I thought there were better possibilities for me to get out there and show my talent. I’m blessed with the new opportunities.”

  • One last note on Henderson: He said he’s remained in contact with UGA LB coach Kirk Olivadotti and is a “backup plan” if the Bulldogs don’t get other targets. “Coach O basically said he wants to see how it plays out with the other guys. If they were to offer, it would be close to signing day. They said they really like me and my athleticism, but they just have other offers out there. He explained it all. They said they do business the right way, and wanted to let me know exactly what the situation was.”

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

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48 comments Add your comment

gbal

January 19th, 2012
5:27 am

tenn.DAWG

January 19th, 2012
5:59 am

Smells like Saban

bulldog steve

January 19th, 2012
6:13 am

What is Dooley going to do with all the orange pants after this season?

Paddy

January 19th, 2012
6:29 am

Dooley needs the state of Georgia to survive. This is not how you want to be preceived by good prospects and good HS coaches. That deal up there is not going to last.

RedandBlackDawg

January 19th, 2012
6:31 am

He appears to have learned fairly well from his former boss, as to how to selectively recruit and cast aside those that commit to him and that he accepts and then rejects. Doubt that will work out as well for him as it does his former boss. These guys are a throw aways from Tenn. after Dooley started throwing offers every which way he could as he panicked when he realized his team wasn’t very good. It will come back to bite him. He can’t rebuild most of a team over night. I wonder how his daddy feels about the way he is going about his business.
I don’t think he will find this a method that works too well for him, as schools and kids will discount him before he ever gets in the door.

Destin Dawg

January 19th, 2012
6:32 am

Orange pants on $ale… Kirby Smart to Tenn. ???

Mountain Dawg

January 19th, 2012
6:59 am

This is a blessing in disguise for this kid since Dooley will be long gone after this year. And yes, I really hate that! GO DAWGS!

BobDawg

January 19th, 2012
7:51 am

Destin Dawg… If Kirby S. goes to TN… That could pose more trouble for us with his recruiting of the state>>>

Beast from the East

January 19th, 2012
7:52 am

“What is Dooley going to do with all the orange pants after this season?”

Maybe he can sell them to the accountant they hire who has a 12-42 record as a Pop Warner coach. Seriuosly, why would you hire a lawyer with a losing record to begin with? Was it as simple as panic mode after the Kiffey fiasco?

BIG O

January 19th, 2012
8:33 am

Send all the de-commits that are good to Ohio State or Alabama A&M and we will treat you with respect and take care of you like YOU ARE ONE OF OUR SONS!!!

Golden White

January 19th, 2012
8:37 am

That apple hit the ground and rolled to far from the tree.

DawgsAlltheTime

January 19th, 2012
8:39 am

Some have mentioned Kirby Smart. One day he will be a head coach. If it’s in the SEC, he’s going to be a force with which to be dealt. Right now he’s traveling around with Nick Saban recruiting for the Tide and making all of these contacts at every school in the South, especially in the State of Georgia. He’ll walk in to a head coaching position somewhere ready to build, or rebuild, a program starting on Day One.

IL Jacket

January 19th, 2012
8:54 am

Good luck to these three young men-they are going to land on their feet and be the wiser for it.
UT-look out, trouble ahead. I thought Dooley was more of a man than this.

annapolisdawg

January 19th, 2012
9:17 am

This young man has a good head on his shoulders and should talk to Justin Taylor before he ruins his chances. Henderson gets that it’s a business and I like the fact that UGA is being straight with him. Sure, Alabama is a recruiting machine but I like knowing that my school is going about “the business” the right way. It’s time for the NCAA to even the playing field with this over recruiting mess.

G-Dawg

January 19th, 2012
9:29 am

Smart hasnt proven a single thing yet. Daddy Saban runs the show.

TENN

January 19th, 2012
9:58 am

You guys are ridiculous. So when TONS of kids EVERY year decommit from schools to go to other schools it is “OK.” But no no no…schools cannot ask a kid to look around once he has committed, shame on them. These kids have nothing that binds them to a particular school until NSD…if recruits can “shock the world” on NSD by choosing another school then I think it is fine for schools to give recruits a month to find another school. Please do not act like this has never been done before at UGA.

5150 UOAD

January 19th, 2012
10:11 am

G_Dwag and what have you proven?

Dooley is in the Sky is Fall’n mode and it will only get worse.

just the truth

January 19th, 2012
10:18 am

So basically Olivadotti said the same thing that Dooley said.

JacketTed

January 19th, 2012
10:33 am

Pitiful. Derek learned from Nick. Surprised it hasn’t started smelling in Gainesville, yet.

uncle kirk

January 19th, 2012
10:41 am

Just the truth, yeah. except Olivadotti is being loyal to the ones they have offered scholarships to.

The Best Choice

January 19th, 2012
11:27 am

Henderson, Cross and Redding need to go to Kentucky. They hit a bump in the road this year, but those guys are doing it right up there.

Dawgbobby

January 19th, 2012
11:32 am

Dooley is destroying the Volunteer pipeline to Georgia that has been a major factor in the Vol’s success in the last 25 years. Look at all the running backs that Fulmer recruited from GA that ran roughshod over people. I like Dooley and he could be a competent coach, but the mess at Tennessee is more than he can handle for a guy who came from La Tech (doesn’t matter if he is a Saban protege). Tennessee needs an NFL guy like Mike Shula or the likes. Say what you want about Shula, he took a bad situation at Bama and righted the ship. He did not leave Saban’s cupboard empty by any means. I like the Dooley’s and I wish Derek had taken a more stable job before this one. I hate to say it but UT has a lot going for it, it just needs a coach that can sell it better.

DawginLex

January 19th, 2012
11:40 am

There is no comparison to how Dooley treated him to the way Olividatti treated him.

Dooley offered the schollie then went back on his word

Coach O told him up front he would be a late offer only if other kids didn’t commit.

BIG DIFFERENCE

harold

January 19th, 2012
12:07 pm

DOOLEY WILL SOON BE FIRED AND REPLACED BY PEYTON MANNING!

Rationale

January 19th, 2012
12:25 pm

Just the truth – There is a bit of a difference. UGA has not offered him a scholarship, and basically told him to keep looking for the best opportunity that may be available to him, and if he is still not committed, and one of the ones UGA has offered to, does not committ, they would like to have him come in. You call it “Truth”, I call it integrity on the part of CMR, and the UGA staff.
TN had offered and now pulled the offer, the young man committed, based upon trust of Dooley, they made changes, decided they did not want him, cut him loose.
UGA is being honest up front. They have already offered scholarships, which they always honor. You, need to figure out the difference between the truth and your own personal version of the truth. You sound like a lot of the GA Tech supporters I frequently talk to.

GADawg92

January 19th, 2012
12:37 pm

Wonder if a spot is open for Henderson now that Whitehead committed to NC State. Maybe they waiting to see if Dawson will flip. Redding would be a nice WR to go with Tibbs in this class since Outlaw isn’t coming. Are we after him at all?

Mr. SEC

January 19th, 2012
12:40 pm

Khalid Henderson is a joke to call UGA “a back up plan!” Anothe perfect example of what I have been saying for years, committing to early and to young! I can assure you, is not the place for you, go to plan C!

GADawg92

January 19th, 2012
12:44 pm

@Mr. SEC – Think he means UGA told him he is “a backup plan” if some of their targets don’t commit, not the other way around.

The General Feeling

January 19th, 2012
2:04 pm

Are mutt fans misinformed (which would be the fault of the ajc.com) or are they just plain stupid?

I say that mutt fans are stupid. The ajc.com article clearly states that the three teenagers where given a clear and direct suggestion to “look around” at other football programs and schools. And that they were advise of such a few weeks ago, which is several weeks before the actual signing day.

Good for them, the teenagers, they are smarter than a mutt fan.

Les W. Moore

January 19th, 2012
2:08 pm

It’s funny to see the Dawg fans offering advice on how to pick a head coach. Imagine if UGA had anyone other than Mark Richt as it’s head coach? Bill Currey would have already won a BCS title with UGA’s talent. Les Miles would have more than two.

Underachievers, for sure.

navy92

January 19th, 2012
2:47 pm

Funny how Saban gets blasted for him treatment of Justin Taylor but Dooley gets no where near the venom. Saban asked an injured guy to delay his enrollment while Dooley told 3 guys to look elsewhere…………after they had been committed for some time. Guess folks to really fear Dooley and Tennessee.

[...] Updates on 3 ex-Tennessee commits from Georgia [...]

[...] Updates on 3 ex-Tennessee commits from Georgia [...]

JacketTed

January 19th, 2012
3:19 pm

Take your head out of the orange sand, The General Feeling. Your coach is demonstrating the exact same scum-bag qualities as his mentor, Saint Nick. You think he’s justified in pulling schollies because he did so several weeks prior to signing day? Wow, your moral compass is broken beyond repair. You don’t treat people – especially young people who’ve publicly accepted your invitation to join your family – this way. Wake up.

The Reckoner

January 19th, 2012
5:04 pm

Rationale

January 19th, 2012
12:25 pm

Just the truth – There is a bit of a difference. UGA has not offered him a scholarship, and basically told him to keep looking for the best opportunity that may be available to him, and if he is still not committed, and one of the ones UGA has offered to, does not committ, they would like to have him come in. You call it “Truth”, I call it integrity on the part of CMR, and the UGA staff.
TN had offered and now pulled the offer, the young man committed, based upon trust of Dooley, they made changes, decided they did not want him, cut him loose.
UGA is being honest up front. They have already offered scholarships, which they always honor. You, need to figure out the difference between the truth and your own personal version of the truth. You sound like a lot of the GA Tech supporters I frequently talk to.

All that integrity sure has won Mark Richt a lot of Championships.

P. Bull Terrier

January 19th, 2012
8:38 pm

Dooley Jr. missed one important lesson in “Recruiting the Saban Way”.

FIRST, you have to win some national championships,

THEN you can pick and choose, and toss kids on the trash pile when a better option comes along.

Rick James

January 19th, 2012
8:56 pm

@Mr. SEC

You misread the article.He said the “he” is the backup plan for “Georgia” in the event they lose some commitments.Not vice versa..

RedandBlackDawg

January 19th, 2012
9:06 pm

Just the truth,

You have a weird way of coming to a conclusion. Has UGA offered the kid? They are being up front with him as well as they are with any kid they talk to about playing for UGA. Tenn.offered the kid, he accepted and then they backed off. Now I realize you aren’t exactly going to be the brightest bulb on the tree, but even you can surely see the difference there.

SmyrnaJerome

January 19th, 2012
10:02 pm

Dooley changed his mind. Big deal. Can’t wait to see the hate article coming Michael when Dooley takes the commitment from Bonner

deetee

January 20th, 2012
3:09 am

BETWEEN FAT PHIL’S LAST 3 YEARS, LAME KIFFIN AND FOOLEY, TENNESSEE IS GOING TO BE SCREWED UP FOR SEVERAL YEARS TO COME. AND IF ANYONE THINKS KIRBY SMART WANTS TO LEAD A SINKING SHIP THAT HASN’T EVEN HIT ROCK BOTTOM YET, BOY HAVE I GOT A PONZI SCHEME FOR YOU TO INVEST IN!

foothills

January 20th, 2012
8:32 am

I wish all the 2013 prospects and their coaches would talk to these youngsters and and the Taylor kid before they listen to the great Satan and Fooley blow smoke up their butts. We are critical of kids wavering on their committments and continuing to look around after giving a verbal….wonder where they learn that. By all accounts, CMR and CPJ are honest with their recruits. Sometimes make me wonder if HS coaches have the best interest of the players in mind OR feeding their own egos.

RedandBlackDawg

January 20th, 2012
9:22 am

Foothills,

My guess is most of the coaches are trying to advance their own agenda and you are right about the ego as well. Gives them bragging rights when they go to their GHSA meetings. Half of them could give a damn about the kid and his future. He brought them glory and can continue to make them look good if he succeeds in college football as well.

Hunkerdown

January 21st, 2012
12:11 pm

Good luck to the young man. When one door shuts another opens. Work hard everyday and show them one day their mistake on the field. Sooner or later all this over signing will come around and bite these teams in the butt. Sounds like Wake does it the right way as do the Dawgs! Once you offer it should be your word as a man and shame on those Universities that don’t maintain integrity
.

JT

January 21st, 2012
2:02 pm

I’m a UT fan and this is an unfortunate situation. The only good thing about it is these kids got exposure from being committed to UT, and they were given plenty of advance notice to find another situation.

The fact of the matter is, EVERY SCHOOL in the nation recruits over the players they currently have on their roster, meaning, a school like Georgia already has a couple of tailbacks on their team but that’s not stopping them from bringing in several studs this year, which will likely push the more average RBs (currently on the roster) further down the depth chart. HAPPENS EVERYWHERE. Dooley just happens to be doing it in the same recruiting cycle rather than the next recruiting cycle. Better players became available and so he cut these guys loose.

First off, Henderson weighs 190 pounds. Not 210 or 215 as these articles claim and as is listed on Rivals or other recruiting sites. The UT coaches were upfront with him about keeping his weight up and he hasn’t been able to do it. Secondly, Redding is an academic risk right now from what I’ve read. UT can’t hold onto his commitment with the “hopes” that he will make it into school. He has no one to blame but himself if he’s still an academic risk to qualify at this juncture. As far as Cross goes, UT was in on some better RBs (Mario Pender, Mike Davis, Davante Borque) and had to make a tough call to cut him loose (with plenty of time still to land on his feet somewhere else).

Quit acting so freaking outraged. This is the most competitve conference in the world. Sometimes people get their feelings hurt. The important thing is these kids will all get to go somewhere else and get a free education.

Paul

January 21st, 2012
11:48 pm

Dooley is building a top 10 recruiting class and a long-term stint at Tennessee. He has the VOLS heading in the right direction. I think it’s great Dooley was upfront with these kids weeks ahead of NSD, unlike others in the profession. If some of you Georgia clowns knew the real story behind at least two of the decommitments, you would know that academics/grades were the primary reasons. Can’t wait for college football season to get here. Go VOLS!

MaxTDawg

January 22nd, 2012
11:55 am

Dooley can’t coach a lick—he may be fired after the 2012 with 6-7 more losses, Ga will beat them like a rented mule, as always!

Gerald

January 23rd, 2012
12:36 am

Paul:

Grades had nothing to do with these kids having their scholarships pulled. For example, Imani Cross may wind up at Nebraska, and Nebraska is a much higher rated school than Tennessee (the Huskers were in the AAU until 2010, and now that they are in the Big 10 will soon be back in the AAU). Similarly, Khalid Henderson will likely go to Ole Miss, but is waiting until after his Kentucky visit. So … Tennessee has higher standards than Ole Miss and Kentucky? Since when? Oh yeah, the guy also got an offer from AIR FORCE and UConn. So … Tennessee requires better grades than AIR FORCE and UConn? Keithon Redding: offers from Vanderbilt, UCLA, Penn State and Purdue, all AAU schools. You guys didn’t drop Redding because of grades, you dropped him because he is 6 feet tall, 190 lbs. runs a 4.7 40 and you figure that you can do better. But he will likely go to Ole Miss or Mississippi State.

Sorry fellas, these guys made mistakes by committing to you early. They all would have likely done much better for themselves had they left their recruitments open. The ironic thing is that kids are told to commit early to hold a spot. That is obviously no longer true. No one below a 4 star level recruit should commit early. They should commit on signing day, or when they early enroll.

Daytona Dawg

January 25th, 2012
2:38 pm

The General Feeling….true intelligence in action!!

“I say that mutt fans are stupid. The ajc.com article clearly states that the three teenagers WHERE given a clear and direct suggestion to “look around” at other football programs and schools. And that they were advise(????) of such a few weeks ago, which is several weeks before the actual signing day.”

I guess you can’t fix..or spellcheck…stupid.