In the Michael Floyd recruiting derby, Ohio State was on the Cretin-Derham Hall wide receiver's final list of colleges before he committed to Notre Dame. It's important to note that Ohio State coach Jim Tressel, as much as he wanted Floyd, never paid a personal visit to his St. Paul high school.

Tressel, however, made a recent trip to Cretin-Derham Hall in pursuit of another athlete, sophomore offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson.

"He found his way in here the other day, just to show the flag," Raiders football coach Mike Scanlan said Tuesday. Other schools showing their flags to the 6-7, 305-pound Henderson include Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Notre Dame. Yes, the scholarship offers are pouring in.

And if you thought the chase for Floyd was intense, wait until the Henderson derby heats up.

"I think this is going to be even beyond what it was like for Michael," Scanlan said.

But wait. There's another sport in the works, because Henderson also could have a future in basketball. What's an athlete to do?

"Football recruiting is certainly happening," Raiders basketball coach Jerry Kline said. "Now the basketball recruiting is starting."

Kline wants Gophers coach Tubby Smith to be at the front of the line. He sent Smith an e-mail, telling him the Raiders would be playing at top-ranked Hopkins on Tuesday night. There must be some crossed wires in the university e-mail system, because the guy who came to watch Henderson was Tim Brewster, the football coach.

From a Raiders standpoint, however, there wasn't much to see. Cretin-Derham Hall (11-2) led by eight early, but Hopkins' potent combination of strength, quickness and depth turned things inside out and the Royals (14-0) were ahead by 15 before halftime. The gap was 23 with seven minutes to play, the benches were fully emptied and the final was 86-73.

Henderson scored two points -- taking only three shots -- and had five rebounds. Floyd led Cretin with 21 and John Nance scored 17. The stars for Hopkins were numerous; Raymond Cowles scored 22, Mike Broghammer had 18 and Moses Sundufu came off the bench, hit four three-point shots in a four-minute span of the first half and finished with 14 points.

Henderson made history last season, becoming the first freshman to start for the Cretin-Derham Hall varsity basketball team. And last fall, he became a starting lineman on the Raiders' Class 5A runner-up football team.

Before Tuesday's game, he said his favorite sport is "probably football. I like basketball, too, but right now I think football might be the future for me."

The kid has grown two inches in the past year and a doctor told him he might hit 6-9.

"He has no fat on his body. He could carry 350 and not be fat. He's just starting to lift weights; this is all natural," Kline said.

"He's still growing, he's still kind of learning his body and what he's able to do. He's always been told, 'Don't hit hard, just be careful,' because he's always been bigger than everybody. Now you're seeing a kid who can just go out and play. We're still working on his footwork. He has a ton of talent and he wants to get better."

And says Kline, basketball recruiters "are going to start dropping in here like hotcakes."

One more thing: Henderson's 16th birthday was Monday.

John Millea •