USC has had success in recent years recruiting and developing linebackers who were not household names in recruiting circles. The Gamecocks added another of that type Thursday in Jalen Henry (6-1 200) of Foley, AL.
Henry made an unofficial visit Thursday to USC with his parents, met with recruiter and linebackers coach Kirk Botkin and other members of the defensive staff, and also sat down with Steve Spurrier in his office. Before leaving, he made his pledge to join the Gamecocks' 2015 class.
"As soon as I walked in they were greeting me and I felt like I was at home," Henry said. "The players I met in the lockerroom greeted me and I fit in very well. It felt like my own school actually."
Henry has 14 offers with USC his first from an SEC school. He has not been a much talked about recruit this spring because he missed most of his junior season with a broken foot. Botkin first saw Henry in 2010 but Henry didn't hear back from the Gamecock recruiter until earlier this spring when he came by his school and offered him the chance to play for a top ten team in the SEC.
"To be part of something special like this after not getting the opportunity to do anything my whole junior year and having a big injury and not being able to help my football team, it feels good to be out there you know."
One observer compared Henry to former USC linebacker Shaq Wilson as far as his playing skills. He has excellent speed and makes plays all over the field. He recorded 159 tackles as a sophomore.
"I get out on pass drops really well and get out on the perimeter and tackle well and make plays," he said.
Henry also plays baseball and was named to the Coastal Alabama All-Region first team as a third baseman,, but his focus will be on football. He is considering enrolling early but has not made a final decision on that.
Henry is the second linebacker commitment for USC's 2015 class and the 15th overall.