SEC Coaches Appreciate AU Senior's Talents

Cole Bennett discusses his role on the 2006 Auburn football team and his future.

Auburn, Ala.--The Monday evening practice session marked the last of two-a-days in the careers of 22 Auburn seniors.

For senior tight end Cole Bennett, it was a relief.

"I'm not exactly sad or anything," he says. "I'm pretty much glad to get it over with and get off these fields. I don't have to come back. They're not exactly superb quality. The ground is a little shaky and there are anthills everywhere you step. I was glad to get back on our fields."

The tight end and his teammates returned to the football practice fields for their Tuesday evening workout and will be back there on Thursday morning after taking the day off on Wednesday as fall semester classes begin.

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Cole Bennett, who has been impressive in preseason practices, has plenty of game experience for the Tigers.

Bennett is one of 11 Auburn players who will be competing in 2006 having already earned a college degree. He majored in management information systems and graduated in just three years.

"I graduated in May," Bennett notes. "I'm supposed to be in grad school. I'm waiting to hear some stuff as far as scheduling, but I know I'm in. It's just a matter of getting my classes in order. I registered for four, but you only have to take nine hours, which is three classes. I'll probably end up dropping one and just take three classes."

Having played behind Cooper Wallace for the first three years of his career, Bennett is the number one option at tight end this season. He enters his final campaign as a preseason first team All-SEC selection by the league's coaches after playing well in his opportunities in previous seasons.

"I'm real pleased with it and it's a big surprise," Bennett notes. "I thought I was pretty much under the radar. But enough of the coaches know enough about me to vote me that so I'm was really happy."

Bolstered by Bennett, Auburn's tight end group, which includes freshmen Tommy Trott, Gabe McKenzie and Michael Goggans, figures to be a strength of the team.

"I'll be doing whatever they ask," Bennett says of his role as a senior. "I think I'm well-rounded enough to first and foremost be counted on for blocking in the run game, but also be able to do certain things in the passing game. There are some things I can do as far as running routes, but I guess I'm more balanced than some of the others."

At 6-5 and 261 pounds, Bennett has made significant improvements in his college career after arriving as a 230-pounder coming off a senior season knee surgery in high school. His size and blocking ability could give him a shot to play at the next level following his senior season. NFL scouts have been at recent Auburn practices and he is one of the players they have been watching.

"If someone likes me enough to pay me to play, then sure, I'll want to keep going," he says. "If not I'll get me a good 'IT' job and move on with life."


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