Past Experience — Hendrikson was a two-year starting center at Iowa Western Community College before enrolling at Rutgers before 2011's spring camp. On the Banks, however, Hendrikson's experience is nonexistent.
The burly center logged just a handful of spring practices last year before succumbing to a knee injury that required surgery. Hendrikson began working in a limited capacity at practice by the end of last season, but did not see any significant practice work until the start of this spring.
As a Recruit — Due to lack of size and strength, Hendrikson was not recruited out of high school. After two solid years in a junior college, Hendrikson bulked up to about 275 bounds and started hearing from a small series of schools across the country.
Hendrikson officially visited Rutgers during the 2010 season and signed his Letter of Intent a month later.
Spring Performance — The most significant note about Hendrikson's spring is that it was a healthy one. He used the nine-month recovery time to hit the weight room, improve his strength and bulk up to nearly 300 pounds. Despite half a practice missed with a hand laceration, Hendrikson was at full health during the spring.
He began the spring as the starting center, but slowly saw his first-team reps go to Matt McBride. Struggling against defensive tackle Isaac Holmes in scrimmage situations, Hendrikson dropped to the second team today according to the official depth chart released by coach Kyle Flood.
Does Well — Hendrikson is a technician with the background as a Midwest wrestler. He uses his leverage well at times to compensate against larger defenders, but is best suited for center because of the mental aspect.
Unlike other centers Rutgers has tried since using Ryan Blaszczyk, Hendrikson is a true center in every sense of the word. He understands protections, is assertive and — most importantly — snaps the ball efficiently.
Needs to Improve — Strength. Hendrikson gets off the line quickly enough in run-block situations, but is not always powerful enough to help move the line of scrimmage. For Hendrikson to become a Division I starter, he needs to spend as much time as possible with strength & conditioning coach Jeremy Cole.
Long-Term Outlook — Hendrikson has two years of eligibility left and can certainly be a factor on the Rutgers offensive line. He does not have the upside of Betim Bujari or the athleticism of incoming freshman Brandon Arcidiacono, but he will be a seasoned veteran on an extremely young offensive line during the next two seasons. As R.J. Dill showed this spring, a veteran presence is a confidence-builder for everyone.