Bennett, a 6-1, 205 pound All-District middle linebacker from Berkner High School (Richardson, Tex.) who led his team in tackles, said he had received scholarship offers from Tulsa, Arkansas, Southern Methodist, Texas Christian and Wyoming.
BYU had been recruiting Bennett for some time, but finally offered a scholarship in December after reviewing video tape on him. He said Cougar coaches told him he would likely play safety at BYU.
Jim Ledford, his high school coach, said "Karland is very good with his lateral movement and has great closing speed in the open field. He can cover, blitz and give run support as well as any player I've coached."
He added that "Karland is a great player and a great young man. He's a good leader and very athletic. He runs the second leg of our high school's relay team and is a sub 4.4 forty guy.
"Any school would be lucky to have Karland play for them. He does whatever he's asked and is a definite D-1 caliber athlete. He's a very hard hitter and was our team's leading tackler. BYU is getting a great player and a great young man," Ledford noted.
During his Provo recruiting visit, Bennett went through tests with the coaches on the Cougars defensive system.
"I just really loved my trip there. I just knew that was the system for me. I felt at home with what Coach Mendenhall was explaining and teaching to us. I love to hit. Football isn't worth playing unless you get to hit and safeties definitely get the opportunity to blitz and hit a lot – and I love that. I can cover or whatever, but I don't want to be stuck back there like I would be in some systems. That's what's fun about football."
Bennett's host, Cougar kat-back, James Allen, "made me feel at home and sold me on the system. I can't wait to play with him and the other guys. I got a long great with James.
The linebacker said he plans to increase his weight to between 210-215 pounds after track season. "I want to increase my strength without losing any of my speed. I run a high 4.4 forty right now, but I want to get it to the low 4.4s by the time I get to BYU," Bennett remarked.
One of the strongest selling points for him was defensive coordinator Bronco Mendenhall's emphasis on effort. "He sold me on the fact that if I come in and work hard, I can play right away. That's my goal. I want to play right off, but if they choose to redshirt me, then I'm cool with that. The coaches told me I can play right away if I show the right amount of effort and dedication. That's something that helped me decide to play for BYU," he continued.
The environment, educational opportunities and the facilities were also key consideration in his final decision. "I loved the calm atmosphere there. It's a quiet place where I can fully concentrate on football and academics. School is important to me and BYU is a great academic school." <> Bennett tripped to Provo with teammates, B.J. Mathis and Jesse Joseph, who were also offered by BYU.
"I'm real good friends with both of them. We all go way back and playing with them would be awesome, but I couldn't wait for them to decide to commit to BYU. I just had to go with what I felt. I know both of them are real interested in BYU.
"Hopefully, I can get them both to sign with me. It would be great to play with and attend school with them, but I'm going to BYU regardless. That is the place for me. If they come, that would be great, but I'm very comfortable with my decision. I just can't wait to get to Provo and to get started."
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