Hidden Gem Gets Visits from Champs

There are hidden gems everywhere in high school football and one of them may just be a 6-3, 185-pound wide receiver from Alpharetta (GA). Michael Bennett is suddenly a pretty hot commodity on the recruiting trail. He didn't get his first offer until last week, but has four in that time frame. Not only that, but the defending national champions have been by to see him twice, this week alone.

Sometimes we forget that this recruiting process has sped up so much from years gone by. A major college power finding a big time recruit within 5-6 hours of the school doesn't seem like a difficult thing, but just five years ago, July and August were when most football scholarship offers would roll out to prospects.

Things have sped up in the process, but that doesn't mean that every big time prospect is known about in March and April. Enter Michael Bennett, a speedy and tall receiver from Alpharetta, Georgia who didn't get many chances to catch the ball last season, but is going to be a priority in the offense under a new coaching staff.

Alpharetta had their annual spring intra-squad game on Tuesday and the Florida Gators were there to watch Bennett play. He didn't disappoint accounting for more than 100 yards receiving and two touchdowns through the air. In a newly designed offense, Bennett also ran the ball for 20 yards in limited time. The National Champion Gators noticed with assistant coach Kenny Carter in the stands.

"Coach Carter said I did real well going up and getting the ball. I caught two touchdowns and had a big jump ball," Michael Bennett said Wednesday night. "He saw me run down the sidelines and made the safety miss. He said one thing I could work on is making more people miss. I could work on my lateral movement a little bit. I cramped up, so I need to hydrate more."

Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Presbyterian, Purdue, The Citadel, and Central Michigan among others were coaching staffs in attendance to watch the scrimmage. Bennett is getting 6-8 coaches a day coming by the school. In the last week he has received football scholarship offers from Southern Miss, Air Force, Central Michigan, and on Thursday the latest came from UAB.

Carter was impressed enough to put a call into other staff members at Florida and wide receiver coach Billy Gonzales stopped by Wednesday, just a day later, to check in on Bennett with the Alpharetta coaching staff.

"(Carter) told me to come to camp. If you do well there anything can happen and maybe an offer can come out of that. I am real excited. Hopefully I will show out at camp and then you never know.

"I have Florida real interested right now, so you never know. Coach Carter said, 'Two coaches from Florida came to check in on you for two days, so what does that tell you?' It tells me they are very interested."

Bennett is actually the son of a Michigan State grad, although dad never played football at Michigan State. The Spartans are definitely a team he is interested in and he already visited for a junior day. The other school that he is high on that hasn't offered yet is Georgia. The home state Bulldogs have been by the school once already to see him.

"Georgia has been by my school...Coach Searels," he said. "They should be coming by again. I am going to their senior camp on June 13th, they are pretty interested too. I got an email from Mike Bobo and he wants me to call him. I am looking forward to going to that camp too."

His plans this summer include camps at several major schools.

"I will camp at Michigan State, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Southern Miss. I might go to Florida State, but I'm not sure. They were recruiting me real hard and then all of a sudden it just quit. I went to their Junior day on January 31st."

He has three schools on his dream list of offers right now and all three seem to be interested.

"A Georgia offer would be awesome, and Michigan State," he said. "Getting offers from them would be awesome. Right now, Florida just sticks out to me as that one school that would be awesome."

Michael Bennett has already scheduled a June 8 visit to Florida at their summer camp. FightinGators.com will continue to stay in touch with Bennett throughout the recruiting process.

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