Nathan Bennett is a 6-4.5, 301-pound offensive lineman from Dallas, Georgia. He played for Paulding County High School. I caught up with him a couple of weeks ago and did a short interview with him. Nathan told me at that time he was going to officially visit Mississippi State this past weekend. I talked to him early Sunday night about his visit to MSU this past weekend.

Nathan, my name is Gene Swindoll. I maintain a webpage called Gene's Page. I would like to talk to you about the teams that are recruiting you if you don't mind.

I've got you listed as 6-4 and 290 pounds. Is that accurate?
"I'm actually 6-4.5. 290 is about right."

What is your forty speed?
"My last forty speed was timed back in the spring. I am quicker than that now."

Do you consider yourself as having quick feet?
"Yes, I have quick feet. I am quick off the ball, quick as any other lineman that we have."

What was your last bench and squat?
"We don't do a lot of bench here. My last bench was 330. My power-clean is 315. We power-clean a lot. I only squat about 430, but that is parallel."

That's pretty good. How old are you?
"17. I'll be 18 on January 19th."

Did you play offensive line or defensive line this year?
"Early in the year, I went both ways. When you go one way, you are better one way. I block better when I go one way."

Did you play guard, tackle or center?
"I played tackle."

What do you think are your strengths and weaknesses?
"I am good at coming off the ball and hitting folks. I like to hit folks. Down-blocks are my specialty. I have a lot of things I need to work on."

Which schools are recruiting you?
"I have offers from Mississippi State, East Carolina, Arkansas, and UAB. Georgia Southern wants me to cancel Mississippi State and come down there, but I'm not going to do that."

Which schools are you officially visiting?
"UAB this weekend (Jan. 4-6), next weekend East Carolina (Jan. 11-13). I am going to Mississippi State on my birthday (Jan. 19th). Arkansas is the weekend after that. I have one spot open."

When did the schools start recruiting you?
"A bunch of them stopped in (at my school) last spring. My coach didn't get much stuff out on me. He didn't send my tapes off. Really, most of them starting recruiting me after my first couple of games."

Have you received any visits from coaches?
"UAB has come by. The coaches from East Carolina, Arkansas and Mississippi State have come by. East Carolina's coach has been recruiting me the longest. Coach Tompkins has stayed on me pretty hard, too."

What will be the deciding factor as to which school you will choose to sign with?
"They are all universities and you are going to get a good education wherever you go. I am going to go on my visits and wherever I feel the most comfortable is where I am going to go. No matter where I go I am going to get to continue to do what I love to do and that is play football."

Of the schools that you are presently considering, do you have a favorite?
"My top two choices right now, without question, is MSU and East Carolina. I'm not going to say which one is first. Whichever one makes me feel at home and where I fit in best is where I will go. Whichever feels right for me and I fit in the best. It doesn't matter about tv and all those kind of things."

The above came from my first interview with Nathan. What follows is my second interview. It was conducted Sunday, January 20th, the day Nathan got back from his official Mississippi State visit.

Hey, Nathan, this is Gene Swindoll.
"Hey, man."

Do you have time to talk?

The last time we talked you said that you were planning on visiting Mississippi State this weekend. Did you do that?

"Yes sir."

Did you fly in to Mississippi State or did you drive?
"I flew in on a private jet."

Was that the first time that you flew?
"No, I've been flying (to my official visits) all this month."

You've got it down pat now, don't you?
"Oh yeah, but this was my first time to fly on a private jet. It was first class."

Who was your host?
"Chris McNeil and Scott Goldberg. They are cool guys, man."

What did you guys do Saturday?
"We took a tour of the campus and learned about our academics and then ate lunch. I also got to meet Coach Sherrill."

What did you think about Coach Sherrill?
"Oh, he is a great guy, man. We hit it off. He is one of a kind. He is different from most. With his record, you figured he would be stuck up, but he is a laid-back person. He is a good guy."

What did you think about the facilities?
"They are nice, but then they are SEC facilities. They have a great Rec Center (Sanderson Recreation Center). They are going to build a brand new weight complex soon, but the one they have now is nice. They are renovating their dorms right now."

You sound tired?
"Yeah, I'm tired."

When I talked to your mother earlier, she said your girlfriend came by and picked you up.
"She picked me up at the airport."

Tell me a little about your girlfriend. The last time I talked to you you were at her house that time also.
"Her name is Morgan Burnette. We've been dating almost a year now. She is also a senior. She is a great athlete. She got a softball scholarship -- the Bobbi Bailey Award -- to Kennesaw University. The scholarship award was a big honor. I don't know a lot about it, but I know that it is a big deal."

Your mother said that you committed to Mississippi State. What made you decide to commit to Mississippi State and when did you commit?
"I went out Friday night and all the people in Starkville were incredible. They just made me feel at home. Everybody was friendly and laid-back. I just felt like I fit in."

Your parents were with you during the visit weren't they?
"Yes sir."

Did you commit during the meeting with Coach Sherrill or did you talk to your parents and then decide?
"Nah, when I went in and talked to Coach Sherrill I told him I wanted to be a Bulldog."

What was his reaction?
"He was excited about it. He is a great guy. I also liked Coach Tompkins. He did a great job of recruiting me."

I guess you are pretty excited now, now that you have finally committed to a school?
"Oh yeah, I bought my girlfriend a sweatshirt and I bought me a sweatshirt and a hat. My mom bought me a coffee mug with my name on it."

Well, I've taken enough of you time, Nathan.
"I appreciate it, man."

Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page (http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com), the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at swindoll@genespage.com.

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