Benedict Talks About UF Visit and More

The University of Florida hosted more than a dozen high profile prospects from the class of 2010 on Sunday. Among the group was future all-American offensive tackle Brent Benedict of Jacksonville (FL) Bolles. Benedict came away from the visit getting to know some of the commitments and a better understanding of what it is like to be a Gator.

Brent Benedict arrived early in the day with the main scheduled sporting event being a basketball game between the Gators and rival Tennessee. The staff made sure the 6-6, 290 pound lineman got some time to learn a little bit more about what it is like to be a player with the reigning national champs.

"I got there about noon and saw the facilities to start with," Benedict said. "Coach Loeffler was there, Coach Meyer was there and Coach Addazio was there also. (Addazio) took Ian Silberman, I, and a couple of other (prospects) up to his office to sit and talk as a group. Then we went to the basketball game where Tim Tebow was."

Benedict has been to a few college campuses on unofficial visits so far during his young process and one thing that stood out for him at Florida are the newly renovated facilities in Gainesville and the people running the program.

"I got to see the facilities and the facilities are the nicest facilities I have seen," he said. "I really like the coaching staff too and I can see where I would certainly like being a member of the Florida football team with Coach Meyer and Coach Addazio."

Even before the trip, Benedict talked highly of the Gators.

"The University of Florida is high on my list," he said via an interview last week. "I have a lot of friends that are going to Florida and they want the national championship...you can't do much better than that."

As it turns out, he does contact Florida's head coach at least once a week.

"I usually talk with Coach Meyer," he said. "I will call him once a week and just catch up. He asks me how everything is going and tells me why I need to come to the University of Florida. He tells me about the program, what his guys are up to, and how everything is going that week."

Maybe something in the Gators' favor is the fact that Steve Addazio was recently promoted from offensive line coach to offensive coordinator. Benedict certainly understands that it is a change from the norm and what he would find on most campuses.

"I think it is neat and unique," he said of Addazio's promotion. "I guess it is a little bit different from what is traditional, but I think it is great having an offensive line coach as the offensive coordinator."

One thing the Gators were likely trying to accomplish on the weekend was to build some familiarity between the prospects that are committed and the other guys the staff is really trying to go after. Benedict talked about a few prospects that he chatted it up with.

"I know Louis Nix was there and I saw him," Benedict said. "I also met Trey Burton today and had a few words with him. He seemed like a good guy and I know he spoke with both Ian (Silberman) and I."

The Gators will have a lot of work to do with Benedict. While, he doesn't favor any particular program, he is wide open to anyone interested in him right now.

"At this point everyone is a possibility," he said. "I have 26 written offers and I am very thankful for that and am glad things have worked out until this point. I have no idea where I am going to end up at school. Location isn't a factor and I don't feel like I am staying in the Southeast necessarily. I know the SEC and ACC are both great conferences to be in, but I have no idea where I am going to end up."

Clemson has been rumored to be the place where he might end up because of the close proximity of where he lived for the first 13-14 years of his life. As it turns out, he and his family have traveled and moved to many places over time.

"I was born and raised about 30 minutes from Clemson," Benedict said. "My mom got her Masters from there and got her undergraduate from Penn State. She's originally from Pennsylvania.

"My dad went to a technical college in Pennsylvania and started his own business. He was kind of like me where he wasn't a fan of any one school or anything. They went to high school and grew up together and are kind of high school sweethearts.

"They moved to a lot of places, Texas and the Netherlands (among them). He was an aircraft engine repair technician for a while and he moved quite a bit with all the military contracts he had. I was born in Greenville, and have lived the last three years in Jacksonville.

"(My dad) worked his way up the ladder and owned his own company and he is kind of semi-retired and just hangs around the house some and goes fishing when he wants."

All of that leads to Benedict somehow being one of the more coveted offensive linemen in the country as a senior-to-be. He's versatile, but most schools see him as a dominant tackle prospect at the next level.

"I have been recruited mainly as an offensive tackle," he said. "I played defensive line in high school and played back up at all the positions on offense because we had all seniors last year. As a starter I played tackle mostly, but I feel comfortable playing guard and center. I just want to get on the field and play."

Besides his physique and playing style, coaches are most likely drawn to his humble attitude as well.

"Most coaches just like the way I play. I have been very well coached and I give all the credit to my coaches," he said. "I think they instill hard work and discipline in all the players at our school. I have been fortunate to benefit from that. I am just able to get out there and deal with the system so well and do some damage."

A weight room warrior and a member of the track team throwing the discus and shot put, Benedict is also a great student. Bolles will not allow their students to graduate early, Benedict will likely use the extra time to prepare himself for college anyway. He is starting to understand just what he is looking for in a school.

"I want somewhere I can graduate from and really feel proud that I graduated from that school," he said. "Somewhere I can go and say I graduated from this school and it will hold some weight when I am trying to get a job...Of course I want to contribute to the football program and so I want it to be a great program. The pro level is something that is very far away, but certainly somewhere I am looking at."

With his trip to Gainesville done and spring break nearing, Benedict will be looking to see a few more schools very soon.

"I am going to go back to South Carolina on my spring break," he said. "I will probably go to Georgia and Georgia Tech on my way up there. Once I am up there I will visit with South Carolina and Clemson. Then, if I have enough time I might go up to see North Carolina, Duke, and Wake Forest."

Scout.com will try and map his every move. Stay tuned.

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