Comeaux athlete very versatile

Tyler Benoit (6-1, 195, 4.4) of Comeaux High School in Lafayette, La., is emerging as one of the top track and football prospects in the South for 2004.

Recruiting has picked up tremendously since the Spartans started spring practice but Benoit has his focus on another matter for the time being.

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association State Track and Field Meet will be held on the LSU campus this weekend and Benoit stands as good of a chance as any to bring home some hardware even if he is not running in his best event.

"I'm running the 200 (meters) and I have a good chance to win," Benoit told Tiger Rag. "I qualified for the 100 and the 200 but I jumped out of the blocks early in the 100 at district and got disqualified. So, it's just the 200 now."

The speed merchant from Acadiana has posted some impressive times on the track this season with a personal best of 21.50 in the 200 meter dash and 10.44 in the 100. Throw in his football statistics from his junior season and it is easy to see why coaches from all over America are traveling to South Louisiana to catch a glimpse of Benoit in action.

"I talked to the coach from Florida State at practice the other day and he asked if I would be interested in going there," Benoit said. "I told him I didn't know right now. I also talked to a Michigan State coach a couple of days ago and he said not many running backs my size could do the things that I could do like the little backs."

Benoit's ability to make something happen when he gets the ball in his hands is his trademark. He rushed for 960 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior, which equated to 6.4 yards per carry and a touchdown every 10 times he touched the ball.

Some schools covet him as a running back but most are looking at transforming Benoit into a receiver or safety at the next level. Does it really matter to him where he plays?

"It really doesn't matter to me but I would rather receiver," he said. "But, I would play in the backfield if I had to."

Through all of the letters and inquiries he has responded to over the last four months, Benoit is focusing on seven schools for his college destination. LSU, Florida State, Michigan State, Colorado, Texas A&M, Georgia and Boston College are all under the microscope but the home-state Tigers have been the leader since the beginning.

"I've always wanted to attend LSU since middle school," said Benoit. "Watching Kevin Faulk, Rondell Mealey, and all of them made me want to go there. They've got some good coaches over there and I see that they are getting way better as the years progress. They've got some serious players over there."

LSU has not offered him a scholarship yet but running backs/special teams coach Derek Dooley paid a visit to Benoit to let him know that the Tigers have their eyes on him.

"Coach Dooley came by last week and saw us workout in some 7-on-7 passing drills," said Benoit. "He told me to keep up the good work and that they wanted to see me at one of their camps."

If Benoit performs up to his potential at the Tigers' summer camp, don't be shocked if Nick Saban adds him to his list of early commitments before the 2003 season gets underway.

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