Phenix City, Ala.--Already rated a four-star middle linebacker for the 2017 recruiting class, Central High standout Markail Benton looked the part last Friday night as the Red Devils took out rival Auburn High 47-17 to seize early control in the race for homefield advantage in the playoffs. At 6-2, 220, Benton’s combination of size and speed make him the ideal player in any defensive scheme down the road, and several schools have already taken notice.
A frequent visitor to Auburn since the spring, Benton was back on the Plains for the season opener against the Arkansas Razorbacks. Watching as the Tigers pulled away in the second half led by a strong defensive effort from Coach Ellis Johnson’s group, he said the day was a fun one for him to get an inside look at the program.
“It was a good game except for the rain part,” Benton said. “Otherwise it was very good. I got to go into the locker room and see everything. They’ve got good coaches and the team is like a family.”
A family atmosphere is what Benton and his teammates are feeling at Central-Phenix City after a strong start to the 2014 season. That continued last Friday night when the Red Devils beat Auburn for the first time since 2001 behind a strong all-around effort on both sides of the ball.
Benton chases Auburn quarterback Bradley Northcutt
Benton was a big part of things on defense from his linebacker position. Making plays in the running game, he was especially good in blitz situations and was able to get pressure on the quarterback much of the game. He said that’s just one part of his game that is coming together with the more experience he gets at the position.
“I love to come after the quarterback,” Benton said. “More pressure on the football leads to turnovers. I just feel more comfortable than I did last year. A lot of it is because of having good teammates around me.”
Central takes on Robert E. Lee out of Montgomery this week before facing off in a huge game against Prattville next week.