Penn State edges Auburn for top RB recruit Alvin Henderson

From the moment Alvin Henderson confirmed a Thursday afternoon verbal commitment window, his decision became that much harder.

Set to pick Penn State after a strong unofficial visit weekend in Happy Valley, the Elba (Ala.) High School star running back was conflicted leading up to his commitment ceremony as the in-state and close to home Auburn Tigers continued to push for him to stay in SEC country.

In the end, Henderson tells Rivals the Nittany Lions checked more boxes than the Tigers.

"The final two was them (PSU) and Auburn," he said. "A few boxes out-checked other when me and my family sat down and talked, we felt like Penn State was the best overall fit.

"The main thing was the production from coach (Ja'Juan) Seider and coach (James) Franklin as well with the backs over the last few years. Then the overall scheme and fit for me as a player."

Florida State and Miami were additional finalists for the Rivals100 recruit, who becomes the highest-ranked PSU pledge in the class of 2025 to date.


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Henderson had more recruiting industry buzz with Florida State and Miami in addition to in-state Auburn, but he says most bought into the geography of his options. The Nittany Lions were always at or near the top of the record-breaking back's list.

"Penn State has always been a school that has recruited me hard," he said. "It was kind of the team in the closet that nobody knew about...obviously I'm not able to go up and visit as much as other places.

"They're losing Nick (Singleton) and Kaytron (Allen) to the draft this year, and the running back room is wide open for somebody like me to come in and compete. But not just that, it's the relationship that me and family have built with coach Seider and coach Franklin...why not Penn State?"

The newest PSU pledge took an unofficial visit to Happy Valley last weekend, his final stop before the pick would go public. It obviously went well, but it was a current running back on the roster that helped make the sell of Penn State a clear one.

"I was able to sit down with Nick Singleton alone...he said he knew Penn State was the place for him because of how he was treated and that the running back room would be wide open," Henderson said. "Everybody on staff lets me know that I can come in and be the dude."

The junior season put together by the No. 3-ranked running back recruit won't soon be forgotten. Even as every defense knew the ball was headed his way, he registered a staggering 3,500-plus rushing yards and more than 60 touchdowns on the ground.

That hype, from the middle of SEC country, is now headed to the Big Ten.

"I want to go try something new," Henderson said. "But I'm trying something new with a program that has been prestigious and has produced at my position.

"I'm ready to join the family!"