Tennessee CB eyes possible transfer to BYU

<b>Shannon Benton</b> was an All-State Florida cornerback from Frostproof High School who was actively recruited by BYU assistant <b>Brian Mitchell</b> two years ago -- until he signed at the last moment with the University of Tennessee. Yesterday, out of the blue, he called Coach Mitchell to explore the possibility of transferring to BYU.

Benton, a 5' 10", 192-pound defensive back redshirted his first year and played sparingly in three games last year as a redshirt freshman.

"I'm leaning pretty hard in a few directions. BYU is most definitely one of my strong options," Benton told TotalBlueSports.com this evening.

"I called Coach Mitchell yesterday after I got my official release from Tennessee and we talked about the depth chart there. I like the 3-3-5 BYU is using and it would be a great opportunity for me to play. I really like Coach Mitchell as a person. He is a great guy."

There was no confirmation from BYU on whether Benton was offered a scholarship if he transferred.

Benton confirmed he will not make a final decision until the end of next week. The other transfer options he is looking at is the University of South Florida or playing Division 2 football, which would allow him to play immediately. He would have to sit out a year if he transfers to BYU or South Florida.

"I feel like I've already sat out two years so that (Division 2) is a factor," he said.

Though stuck behind Tennessee defensive veterans the last two years, Benton was expected to be a contributor in time. A perceived area of weakness for him at Tennessee was his lack of quickness and coverage skills.

So why did he decide to transfer?

"I left primarily because of chemistry problems with the coaches. I didn't like how they were using me. They actually considered moving me to linebacker and I wanted no part of that."

Benton's weight did reach 208 pounds, so moving to linebacker wasn't that far-fetched.

Benton said he weighs 192 pounds now and maintains his 4.5 forty speed.

"I'm still as fast as any of the other DB's, so why try to move me to linebacker. I don't get it. It was time to move on."

Benton has yet to talk with BYU defensive coordinator Bronco Mendenhall, but he's very aware of the scheme Mendenhall has brought to Provo.

"I really like his scheme. I'd love to play safety or corner(back) in that scheme."

of the two Division 1 choices he has narrowed it down to, he said "I've visited both of campuses, so I know what they both have to offer. I can't learn anything I don't already know."

Asked what odds BYU has in securing his services, he added: "Oh, they have a good chance, a real good chance."

During his senior season in high school, he made more than 40 tackles and four interceptions, while rushing for six touchdowns from a running back spot. he returned one punt for a touchdown, helping his team to a 6-4 record in 2000.

As a four-year defensive starter, he played a key role in leading Frostproof to a 1999 state title, with 75 tackles and three interceptions. As a standout on the baseball team, he hit .421 and stole 20 bases as a junior. He was also part of the school's 4 x 100 meter relay team that set a school record in his sophomore year.

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