2011 was a transitional season for the Arizona football squad. Longtime head coach Mike Stoops was relieved of his duties and was eventually replaced by former West Virginia and Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez. Many were concerned how this would affect recruiting, but Rodriguez and his staff did a solid job hanging on to the majority of the holdover commits from the previous staff.
One player Rodriguez retained was 5-foot-9, 155-pound wide receiver Jarrell Bennett from New Orleans (LA) Edna Karr. The shifty wideout originally decided on UA because of the system and stayed solid despite the changes along the staff.
"I knew they were the school for me because of the offensive scheme," Bennett said. "I figured I would fit perfectly into the system. I had to go somewhere that was the best for me. Out of all the offers I had, that was the best situation for me."
One concern for many recruits when a coaching change occurs is how well the rapport will be with the new staff. Bennett had built a solid relationship with one of the previous staff members, but was able to establish an even stronger foundation with Arizona's new coaches.
"As a matter of fact, it's better than the relationship I had with the previous coaching staff," Bennett said. "With the previous coaching staff, the only coach I got to bond with was Coach (Garret) Chachere. But now I bond with the wide receivers coach. I bond with coach (Calvin) Magee. I have a bond with coach Rodriguez. It's better than it was with the other coaching staff. They care more about you as a person than as a football player. Yeah they want you to come play for their football program, but they want you to succeed in life."
Entering his freshman year, Bennett has reasonable expectations, but would like to battle for a chance to play as soon as he can.
"The first goal is to go out there and work hard and compete and try to play as a true freshman. The second goal is, when I start playing, is to take advantage of my opportunities. The third is, coach Rodriguez says he is going to take us to the Rose Bowl, and I want to contribute and help any way possible to be a part of that."
Bennett was infatuated with UA from the get go and was never overly intrigued by any of the other options out there. Arizona was the only campus he visited and the wide receiver believes he saw everything he needed to in order to become sold on playing college football in Tucson.
"I didn't visit any other schools because I knew Arizona was the place for me," Bennett said. "It's a college town and once I committed to them it was like a marriage. You commit to the team and you give your all to that team. When coach Stoops got fired, I re-opened my options but when they hired the new coaching staff I had a bond with them and knew that was the place I wanted to be."
The high school senior will graduate in the coming months and then arrive on campus shortly thereafter.
"I graduate in May," Bennett said. "I'll be there in early June.'
Bennett ready to take advantage
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