It took just five days between when Kamryn Bennett got his offer from California until he pulled the trigger and committed to the Bears, but in reality, the fight to earn that offer to begin with was much, much longer.
"Coach Yenser was ecstatic. He was fired up about it. For a second, I think he had to kind of take it in," Bennett said. He said he was really fired up about me. He was fighting for me all spring and summer, and I had to do my part and play my butt off and just show it on film."
Bennett was nearly 300 pounds when he visited Berkeley in April, and his pudgy face was tightly-framed by the Bears offensive lineman's helmet he tried on. These days, he's a svelte 270 pounds, and his game tape shows just how much that difference means.
"Definitely my speed and my athletic ability – this year, I'm a lot faster," Bennett said. "I slimmed down a lot, and I feel like, last year, I was a little pudgy and slow, and this year, I feel trim and solid, and I know that I'm in condition to run down field and pick off safeties, pick off linebackers and make a block down field."
Here's Bennett before his weight loss:
And here he is after:
Bennett had a Pac-12 offer already (Oregon State) before he received his offer from the Bears, but once he got the Cal offer, it didn't take him very long to commit to a coach who was already committed to him.
"Cal's education, and I came up in the spring and I loved it, and I mean, I love coach Yenser; he's a good guy," Bennett said. "In the spring and summer, I talked to him every week, and once the season started, things sort of slowed down, so he'd call me and then I'd call him, and we'd just talk about how the season was going. Coach Yenser is a guy I want to play for."
While some recruits may be spooked by the 1-8 record for the first-year staff, Bennett realizes that the team is young, and the staff is dealing with many issues, including that youth, a rash of injuries and new systems on both sides of the ball. To give him insight into the program, Bennett is a religious watcher of the Pac-12 Networks' The Drive.
"That was the main thing, to watch them and see how they interact with each other and how Dykes really relies on Franklin, and Franklin really relies on Yenser, and it's that trust bond," Bennett said. "This is their first year, and they have a young team right now."
While Bennett's last trip to Berkeley included talks with some players, the topic of conversation settled mostly around life outside of football. Once Bennett's playoff run is done, he plans to take an official visit in December, when he can talk more football with both the players and the staff.
"The plan was to take an official this week, to watch a game against ‘SC, but I talked to coach Yenser and I talked to my parents about it, and we coach Yenser explained that if it was during a game, it would seem really rushed because I'd want to get back to practicing and watching film for playoffs," Bennett said. "My parents decided that it's probably more important to go and sit down and talk with the coaches and be able to interact with them up close and personally."
BEYOND THE COMMITMENT: Fight the Good Fight
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