What is your height and weight?
"I am 6-4, 215."
Do you know what your maximum bench and squat is?
"Yes sir, it is 295 on the bench. That was about a week and a half ago. Lately, I have been working on high reps and high weights. I lifted 225 pounds 8 times. My squat is 400 pounds. I am at 265 in the hang clean."
Your coach listed your forty speed at 4.7.
"I've run a 4.61, which is my best. When we tested during the off-season, I ran 4 forties. I ran 4.63, 4.64, 4.68 and a 4.65. They were all on the grass."
What do you think your strengths are as a football player?
"I think my effort and my mentality are strengths. Physically, I have the size and I have the speed but there are a lot of kids like that. However, a lot of them don't always respond. I feel like I have the heart for the game."
What do you want to improve on?
"Something that I have been trying to do for a long time is adding weight. I was at 190 at the end of this past season and have added close to 25 pounds."
Have you kept your speed with the addition of so much weight?
"Oh yeah. I felt (the added weight) at the beginning of spring ball endurance-wise. Pursuit drills and gassers didn't use to wear me out this much. I just had to get back in the flow. I feel great now. I am in good shape."
Your coach mentioned the Adams class that you went through during the summer. He said you won something called the Rhino Award. Talk a little about that class and the award.
"It is called Adams course. It is a strength course that all football teams are encouraged to do. I know we do it and I know Highland Park does it in the Dallas area. I'm pretty sure a few others do it as well. Coach Dodge encourages all the players to do it.
"You start at 7 in the morning. For the first hour you lift and for the second hour you run. You do conditioning and agility workouts. You do a lot of cone drills. It is an eight-week program. At the end of the program, they give out an award called the Rhino Award. It is for the best leader, the hardest worker, 100% attendance, make all of your goal lifts, have a good attitude. I got that award between my sophomore and junior years and was very excited about winning it. I really worked hard to win that award. It was something that I really wanted to get."
How many kids were in the course?
"Over 100 in my session and there were 3 sessions."
What other honors have you earned during your high school career?
"I am a three-year letterman which is pretty rare at Southlake High School. It is a pretty big school. We were just moved up to 5A, which is the highest classification in Texas."
What football camps did you attend last summer?
"I didn't go to any football camps last summer."
What camps do you plan on attending this summer?
"I definitely am looking at the Mississippi State camp. It is a chance to get out there and see my Uncle Lee. I think I am going to the Air Force recruiting camp with my dad on July 5th. I am going to SMU's camp, Baylor's camp, A&M's camp and TCU's camp. And I am going to the Oklahoma camp. I'm thinking that I may go out to Arizona and Oklahoma State also. I also have a little bit of interest in UNC (North Carolina)." [Jake has an uncle, Lee Benoist, who lives in the Jackson, Mississippi area. Lee is a big Bulldog fan.-Gene]
Did you attend any college football games last year?
"Not last year, but I did attend the Hall of Fame Bowl game when I was little. I also went to the Cotton Bowl when Mississippi State played Texas."
Have you grown up a fan of any particular school or schools?
"I really haven't grown up a true fan of any school. When I was little, I was a Notre Dame fanatic. When I lived in Florida, I was a Gator fanatic. Then we moved to North Carolina, I was a Tar Hill fanatic. The teams I am always pulling for are both Oklahomas even over UT. I am not a very big Longhorn fan. I like them, but I'm not the hugest UT fan."
You've lived in a lot of states. Was your dad in the military?
"No, he is a commercial realtor. He has just had better opportunities. I was born in Houston (Texas) and lived there for about seven years. Next we moved to Tampa, Florida. We probably lived there until I was about 10. From Tampa we moved to North Carolina and lived there until I was about 12 or 13. Then we moved to Southlake."
Off the top of your head, what colleges are sending you letters?
"UNC, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, SMU, just got the one from Mississippi State, Baylor, UTEP, A&M, Air Force, Southwest Texas State....and several others."
What schools are you most interested in at this time?
"I love both Oklahoma schools. I love Mississippi State and Ole Miss. UNC. I looked a lot into Arizona's academics and have an interest in them. I have respect for Oregon. Syracuse. I really want to go where I can play. That is not the only reason because my parents has said even though you love football, education is more important."
What is about each school that you like?
"Their locations. I have been to Norman and love it. I have been to Stillwater and really like it also. My whole family is from Mississippi. My dad and mom are both from Mississippi. They both grew up in Natchez. There is something about Mississippi that I love. I love Chapel Hill. It is a very prestigious school. Syracuse has a very good Broadcast Journalism program."
Thanks for taking the time to talk to me, Jake. I have really enjoyed it.
Other Jake Benoist info:
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page (http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com), the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports and Mississippi high school sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.