Strong, who helped lead Florida to two BCS Championships as the Gator's defensive coordinator, is a strong draw for prospects on the camp circuit. Strong, Louisville's first-year head coach, has put together an impressive staff with 198 combined years of coaching experience, 10 national championships and 14 first round NFL draft selections. And don't forget that Louisville defensive coordinator Vance Bedford coached the only defensive player to ever win the Heisman Trophy.
That caught the attention of Benning, a 6-0, 220-pound linebacker from Mobile McGill-Toolin.
"I like Charlie Strong," he said.
Though Louisville's first camp this week is a three-day event, Benning participated only in Monday morning's session before heading home to Alabama. He came away impressed with the Louisville coaches and the Cardinals campus and facilities.
"It was real good, we did a lot of individual work," Benning said. "I did real good in the one on one's. I worked out with Coach B.J. [Brian Jean-Marie] and I learned a lot. He was talking about man to man coverage a lot, inside and out. He taught a lot."
Benning attended similar camps at LSU and Kentucky this spring and says he's camp at Tennessee later this week. What did he think about Louisville's camp in comparison with the two SEC one's he's already attended?
"Louisville's definitely on the rise and there's a lot of hype building in the program," Benning said. "Louisville's camp was real good, it was legit. I liked it a lot. To me, it was pretty close to the others, but I went to LSU's three-day [camp]."
Benning is still waiting on his first scholarship offer and hopes his work in camps across the south this summer will pay dividends down the road.
"At this point I don't have any offers," Benning said. "I've talked with several coaches from schools. I did real good at LSU. I've talked to Vanderbilt. I've been to Auburn and they're recruiting me. Louisville and Kentucky. And Tennessee, Florida State and Michigan State. I've been hearing a lot from them."
What did Louisville say about an offer?
"I'm not sure about an offer from them," Benning said. "Today they showed me a lot of love after we did our one on one's. The recruiting coordinator from my area [Mike Groh] said it was a possibility they would offer and he's going to keep in contact with me and let me know something."
Benning came away impressed with Louisville.
"The campus and facilities were very impressive," Benning said. "I've been to a lot of places and Louisville definitely has one of the best facilities I've seen. The weight room and new addition to the stadium were nice. I definitely put [Louisville] high on my list after today."