Big, Fast And Smart A Good Combo For Prospect

A Georgia prep football standout discusses his recruitment by Auburn and others.

Dalton, Ga.--There is no doubt that tight end is a high priority for the 2003 Auburn football signee class. There is also no doubt that one of the top tight end prospects in the South, Cole Bennett from Dalton High School, has become well aware of that fact.

A 6-5, 230-pound senior who has been clocked at 4.61 in the 40-yard dash, Bennett continues Coach Tommy Tuberville's trend of recruiting big, fast athletes who are as strong in the classroom as they are on the gridiron.

"Auburn is one of my favorites," says Bennett, a 4.0 student who is a member of the Dalton High School National Honor Society. Georgia Tech is the other college that he mentions at the top of his list. Others that have been recruiting him include Georgia, Florida, Middle Tennessee State and Alabama.

One of the attractions at Auburn is an opportunity to contribute right away, Bennett notes. The Tigers will be graduating senior tight end Lorenzo Diamond and the second stringer, Robert Johnson, is a junior. Cooper Wallace, a redshirt freshman, is the only other scholarship tight end playing on the 2002 team.

"It's a big factor having a chance to come in and play early," Bennett says. "That is definitely a consideration for going to Auburn. I don't want to go to a school that is already stockpiled with tight ends."

Another plus for the Tigers is the fact that Auburn makes the tight end a key part of the offense. At times the Tigers use two tight end sets. At other times they line up the tight end in the backfield like a wingback. The tight end is also put in motion and at times used like a wide receiver who lines up outside and tries to get deep into the opponent's secondary.

Bennett was on the Auburn campus to see the Tigers play Syracuse. He says he likes what he saw, both on and off the field. In that game, Wallace caught the tying touchdown pass on a bootleg run by Jason Campbell.

"I noticed that the tight end just doesn't always line up and block every play at Auburn," he says. "That would get old if I did it down after down. I like what they are doing with their tight ends."

Another plus for the Tigers is the campus and city. "The atmosphere is great there," Bennett says. "Auburn is my idea of what a college atmosphere should be like. I like the campus and the town. I like the people there and the intensity of the fans."

Cole Bennett

In his fourth season as a varsity starter, Bennett is coming off a junior season in which he caught 38 passes for 640 yards with seven touchdowns. He is on a similar pace as his team has posted a 2-2 record going into a Friday night non-region game vs. Murray County.

Dalton lines up Bennett in a variety of positions on offense--in the backfield, at tight end and split wide like a receiver as well as on end as a defender. He is a three-sport athlete who broke into the starting lineup in basketball as a sophomore and played as the sixth man as a junior. In track he has high jumped six-feet-two and also runs on his team's 4x100 relay.

Tiger Ticket Extra: Bennett watched Georgia Tech play BYU earlier this season and also attended the Georgia vs. Clemson contest. He plans to see Georgia play Vanderbilt as well as Georgia at Auburn...He says that he wants to major in business management or business administration in college.

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