USC releases top recruit Henderson

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Southern California released top recruit Seantrel Henderson from his national letter of intent Tuesday, the latest blow to a school reeling from an NCAA scandal.

Henderson, a 330-pound offensive tackle from St. Paul, Minn., was one of the coveted members of coach Lane Kiffin’s first recruiting class.

Kiffin made the announcement Tuesday and said the move came with “zero penalties and no restrictions.”

“Seantrel has been great through the whole process and we wish him the best of luck with his decision,” Kiffin said.

The NCAA recently banned USC from bowl games for two years and imposed severe scholarship restrictions following an investigation surrounding Heisman Trophy-winning tailback Reggie Bush dating to the Trojans’ 2004 national championship.

USC was penalized for a lack of institutional control in the ruling by the NCAA following its four-year investigation. The coach who presided over the alleged misdeeds — Pete Carroll — is now with the Seattle Seahawks.

The penalties include the loss of 30 football scholarships over three years and vacating 14 victories in which Bush played from December 2004 through the 2005 season. USC has appealed, arguing the sanctions are too severe and “inconsistent with precedent.”

Henderson had made a televised announcement saying he picked USC over Ohio State, Notre Dame and Florida, but he did not formally commit as the possibility of NCAA sanctions loomed over the Trojans.

Defensive end Malik Jackson also announced he will transfer to Tennessee. The 6-foot-5, 245-pound junior from Los Angeles has two years of eligibility left. He appeared in 13 games last season and had 18 tackles and 3.5 sacks.

NCAA rules allow juniors and seniors to transfer without sitting out a season following the sanctions.