Michigan Standout Commits to CMU

The Central Michigan University football program has secured yet another verbal commitment for its 2007 recruiting class. This defensive standout couldn't be happier with his decision to join the Chippewa family.

The Central Michigan talent pipeline to Stevensville (Mich.) Lakeshore High School is flowing smoothly these days.

Last Friday, the Chippewas added their fourth player from the Lancers program when outside linebacker Zach Benke (6-1, 200), the brother of current CMU offensive lineman Adam Benke, verbally committed to the Chippewas.

"It feels good going up there and knowing people," Benke said. "I've already got family up there. Adam congratulated me but he said I better be ready for a whuppin'."

A cornerback for Lakeshore, The younger Benke said he's been attending CMU's football camp since his freshman year of high school. This summer, everything fell into place.

"A couple weeks ago, CMU invited me to their one day camp and I did real well," Benke said. "Last week I attended the three-day camp and stood out. (CMU head) coach (Brian) Kelly offered on Friday and I committed on the spot."

Benke said the CMU coaches love his hustle and enthusiasm for the game.

"I always hustle and I love the game," Benke said, "and I love to hit people."

Benke, who doesn't celebrate his 17th birthday until next week, is the fastest player on his high school team. Last year he helped lead the Lancers (11-1) to conference and district football titles.

"Adam got the size in our family and I got the speed," Benke laughed. "I will probably grow some more though."

Benke, who runs a 4.6 40-yard dash, said CMU recruited him to be a drop linebacker and feels he can add another 25-30 pounds without sacrificing any speed.

Benke becomes the third verbal commitment in the Chippewas 2007 recruiting class, joining defensive end Chris Starkey of Dewitt (Mich.) High School and linebacker Nick Bellore of Whitefish Bay (Wisc.) High School.

Now that he is firmly committed to CMU, Benke said he is going to help recruit other area prospects to join the Chippewa program, such as Marshall defensive end Kevin Pickelman and Battle Creek Harper Creek tight end Rocky Weaver. Both Pickelman and Weaver have been offered scholarships by CMU.

"I'll see if I can help recruit other local guys to join me at CMU," Benke said.

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