COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Cornerback Kenny Bennett (Simon Graz/Philadelphia, Pa.) was intent on landing a coveted Maryland offer. So much so that Bennett trekked down to College Park three times the last couple months in hopes of catching the staff’s eye.
“Maryland has always been my dream school, my favorite school,” said the 6-foot-2, 199-pound Bennett. “When I was younger, I was actually in Baltimore for awhile, and I became a Ravens fan. And then I just took notice of Maryland too with the uniforms and all that. I’ve just always sort of enjoyed Maryland as a state and Baltimore as a city, so I grew to watch the teams there.”
Finally, that offer came to fruition following the June 17 Friday Night “Freak Show” camp at Maryland. Bennett said he earned the look after winning all his repetitions against elite wideout Mark Webb (Archbishop Wood/Warminster, Pa.).
“After Coach Aazaar [Abdul-Rahim] and Coach [D.J.] Durkin saw me in one-on-ones, they gave me the offer. They were very impressed with my athleticism, physicality and length,” said Bennett, whose only other FBS offer is from Temple. “And I was honored by the offer. It meant a whole lot to get an offer from the school you grew up wanting one from. Just what Maryland has to offer academically and athletically, and just the people there, it looks like a great fit.”
For the second time in a week, Bennett had a chance to work with the defensive backs coach Abdul-Rahim. The Philly product was previously at Maryland’s June one-day as he attempted to cull out the offer.
“I really like Coach Aazaar as a coach and a person,” Bennett said. “He keeps it real with you, and he’s straightforward. And as a coach he’s very technical and all about details. He was coaching me up and helping me get better.”
Bennett had similar comments for the rest of the Maryland staff. The Simon Graz corner said he’s been in touch with UMD-area recruiter Anthony Tucker since April, while Bennett enjoyed chatting with various other coaches June 17.
“The thing about the Maryland coaches is they’re my type of people,” Bennett said. “They’re so enthusiastic and they’re honest with you. There’s nothing fake about them; they keep it real. They’re not going to tell you one thing then do another.
“Like Coach Tucker, he told me if I came down to camp and did my thing, I’d get the offer. And that’s what happened.”
Besides his affinity for the staff, Bennett harped on Maryland’s academics. He noted the educational benefits of attending school near Washington, D.C.
“I really like how much it has to offer academically. I know I’ll get a great degree and be set up for a job if I go there,” Bennett said. “It’s one of the best research universities in the country. Also, just walking around there, the campus is beautiful and all the new construction is very exciting. The new facilities look very, very nice.”
Following his stay, Bennett dubbed Maryland, “No. 1, no doubt.” He once again pointed to the coaches, reiterating that they’re, “my kind of people.”
But Bennett would like to see what other offers he can procure. He attended a Va Tech camp and thinks the Hokies’ coaches could ante up.
Bennett will be at Syracuse June 19 and believes the Orange’s staff will offer following the camp. Penn State’s coaches have also expressed interest, so Bennett will be camping in Happy Valley June 24. Then, in July, Bennett, who has previously trekked through PSU, Pitt and Temple, is visiting Georgia and Alabama.
“It would be good to get a Penn State offer, but we’ll see what happens. Right now my plan is to see what offers come in, go on a few more visits and then use August to think things through and decide where I want to go,” said Bennett, who mentioned he can play either corner or safety. “I should be ready to decide on a school before my senior season.”