A snap in the hip while running the 40-yard dash turned Auctavius Bennetts junior season at River Hill from running back to cheerleader in the blink of an eye.
Bennett suffered an interior inferior iliac spine fracture, an injury that would sideline the running back for the entirety of the 2010 season. In more general terms, a piece of the muscle ripped off a piece of the bone.
When I found out, I cannot explain the pain. I had worked so hard to get to where I was and I was a little depressed; I did not want to talk to anyone. I just wanted to be alone, Bennett said. I am now going to work harder than anybody to make sure I come back stronger, faster, more agile and smarter. I am focused and more determined than I have ever been in my entire life.
Until then, Bennett is relegated to being a supportive teammate for his Hawks. A 4-1 start to the season and overall positive atmosphere has Bennetts spirits high.
[Head coach] Brian Van Deusen has allowed me to still do everything that the team does even though I am unable to participate for the entire season. He has me learning the plays now so that I will be familiar with the offense next year, Bennett said.
After three years and four high schools, Bennett finally has the opportunity to suit up for coach Van Deusen. Playing for River Hill offers excellence in academics and athletics, as well as a tradition of success.
It means a lot to me to be a part of River Hll football. I have been wanting to attend this HS since freshman year, Bennett admitted. Its one of the best schools on the East Coast.
Born in Houston, Texas and raised in Dallas, Bennett attended Hammond High School, Gov. Thomas Johnson High School and Arundel High School all before landing at River Hill.
I do believe going to all those schools made a better and more versatile person. I have seen and encountered with a lot of different races and nationalities, and I have made a lot of good friends along the way, he said.
In his first chance to shine for the Hawks, Bennett intends to make a statement. He will be 100 percent healthy for the start of his senior campaign, as well as any college camps and combines – a perfect means of showing potential colleges what hes selling.
The 5-6, 170-pound back compares himself to likes of Jacksonville Jaguars workhorse Maurice Jones-Drew, drawing similarities between their physiques. They also both share their role as kick and punt returners.
But despite his play on the field, Bennett alluded to the fact that his experience working in such an assortment of different offenses will be most intriguing to college coaches. I have played in just about every offense there is and I believe that is an advantage when choosing a college.
Bennett has received interest from Texas, Rutgers, Tulsa and Maryland. He attended a Scarlet Knights game two weeks ago, a Longhorns camp and remains in touch with Tulsa secondary coach Van Malone. As for the Terps, he praised the university and coaching staff.
Dealing with the injury may not be helping Bennett raise his football stock, but it is however allowing him to excel in the classroom. A 3.4 GPA has him considering acting, communication and sports medicine among others as potential careers. But its the lure of football that he hopes will be his ultimate career path.
Every day from sixth grade up I have thought about playing in the NFL and in college. I cant remember a day when I was not thinking about football.