Football: Exodus from Westlake picking up steam; QB Malik Henry to leave

The expected exodus of Westlake football players after the resignation of Coach Jim Benkert has begun to pick up steam.

On Friday, standout junior quarterback Malik Henry said he would be leaving for IMG Academy in Florida. That puts him closer to Florida State, the school that he is committed to attend after he graduates from high school.

Several players are considering tranferring to Newbury Park, Calabasas, Agoura and Chaminade, according to those familiar with the Westlake program. Newbury Park begins its spring semester next week.

Benkert, who has become co-coach at Oak Christian, still hasn't announced which of his Westlake assistants will be joining him. Players cannot follow him to Oaks Christian under CIF rules.


Players who transfer also have to be careful about CIF transfer rules. Moving their residence will give them immediate athletic eligibility. Not moving could cause problems.

"The rule states very clearly you can't transfer for athletic reasons," Southern Section spokesman Thom Simmons said.

Athletic Director Christina Harrison said more than 40 applications have already come in since the coaching job was posted last week. It closes on Jan. 30. The school hopes to hire a new coach by the second week of February.

The spring semester begins on Tuesday at Westlake, and the school will begin a strength and conditioning program for players that day, Harrison said.

Harrison said two players have informed the school they are leaving, and that doesn't include Henry.