Bennett Talks Offers

Alexandria, Va., product Jimmy Bennett already holds ten scholarship offers from schools around the nation and is the type of recruit that is sure to do his research on a school before taking anything at face value. We spoke with Bennett about a number of potential suitors and what he thought about their programs.

Standing in at 6-foot-8, 275 pounds barefoot, West Potomac High School offensive tackle Jimmy Bennett has the frame that college coaches dream of. Bennett already holds offers from Kent, Connecticut, Clemson, Maryland, Michigan State, Penn State, Virginia, Virginia Tech and North Carolina State and has more verbal offers that should become written soon.

"West Virginia, Michigan, Florida and Pittsburgh are four schools that have come on strong as of late, but it's pretty much been the same schools the entire time," Bennett explained. "There is something to like about all of these schools and frankly, an education is what you make of it, so I feel like I can get a great one at virtually any of these places."

Maryland: "Last week Coach (Al) Seamonson visited to talk with me and our quarterback and told me that he and Coach (Ralph) Friedgen would be stopping by again later this month together. I took a visit to Maryland a while back and had a chance to watch how Coach (Tom) Bratton works with the offensive line. One thing I noticed about Maryland is that when the coaches are on the field it's down to business, but once they step off it, they're very cool and easy to talk to. I really respect their program because they keep on top of players with their academics and how they act off the field. Maryland players aren't out there acting like thugs like some other programs let their players do. Then you have certain players on the team that have to learn different positions because of the schemes they run, so you've got guys handling two or three positions along with the academic side of things and it's just very impressive to see that."

Virginia: "I've been there three times now and have been able to meet with the entire coaching staff to get a feel for how they are. Virginia is one of the top-notch academic institutions in the country and their coaches don't force feed things to you while you talk to them. I enjoyed my time on campus there and am going to stop down again some time soon to do the campus tour bit."

Virginia Tech: "I haven't been there yet, but from the people I speak to at my school and around the community I've heard some very good things about Virginia Tech as a school. Their football program speaks for itself with the success they have on the field, so I'll probably go down in mid-July and check things out for myself. Coach (Frank) Beamer and Coach (Bud) Foster have both been to my school twice and Coach Foster was in again today to meet with me, so we keep in touch regularly."

Penn State: "I've been to Penn State before and the campus was absolutely beautiful, just really impressive. The stadium and facilities are nice and I'm hoping to go up there for a game this season. One thing I noticed about Penn State is that the coaching staff is very serious about what they do on and off the field at all times. They take their recruiting very seriously and make sure they're recruiting high quality athletes that aspire to be successful in the classroom as well."

Clemson: "I've spoken with Coach (Andre') Powell a few times and he has let me know just how important I am to their program. He's been very focused on trying to get me on campus, so at this point I'm thinking that I may go down and check them out sometime in June. I've been learning about their traditions like "The Hill" and what not, so that's something I think you need to go see in person to appreciate."

Michigan State: "My contact with Michigan State really just started recently when Head Coach (Mark) Dantonio and Coach (Harlon) Barnett came down here to see me at school one day. I'm very partial to the Midwest for some reason, so going to a Midwest school would definitely be something I'm very interested in. Right now I'm just beginning the process of learning about Michigan State, but going forward they're definitely a school of interest.

North Carolina State: "Coach (Keith) Willis is a real good guy and just tells me the truth and nothing else. He doesn't talk about other schools, he doesn't tell me what someone else doesn't have, he simply tells me what North Carolina State has to offer as a school and as a football program and we go from there. One of the thing my parents and I have talked about is listening to what these coaches tell me and then fact finding to compare what's real and what isn't and Coach Willis has told me nothing but the truth which I really respect. That just made a very good impression on me and I could see myself playing for that type of program."

Notre Dame: "I really like Notre Dame a lot, but it's hard to give them serious consideration when I don't have an offer from them. My grades in the past weren't so great and even thought I've worked diligently to improve them they're still not where they need to be for Notre Dame, but I don't hold a grudge against them because that's my fault. Coach (Ron) Powlus has been down and has told me flat out just like Coach (Pete) Vaas did before him that he really wants them to offer me, but at this point it doesn't look like that will happen anytime soon."

Connecticut: "A lot of it for me comes down to relationships and like I said before, the Connecticut staff is the nicest I've met so far. For example, Coach (Rob) Ambrose and I talk often and he's always making fun of me for something. No matter what we're doing, he's picking on me here and there and we have the type of relationship already to where that's cool. We get along really well and just have fun together which makes the whole process a lot more enjoyable. Connecticut is a school I could definitely see myself at in the future. My visit just went really well at Storrs."

Pittsburgh: "Coach (Aubrey) Hill told me that I have a scholarship waiting for me and that he and Head Coach Dave Wannstedt would be down later this month. Coach Hill sends me a lot of text messages, but they're quality messages. Some coaches just send you the keeping in touch kind of things, but he sends me great information that I need and want to know to make an informed decision. Pittsburgh came on very late, so I'm really catching up on them, but I've been on campus before and know some things that I like about them, so that's a start."

Florida is a school that Bennett is unsure if he has an offer from at this point, but says that they have been coming on very strong as of late. As a junior, Bennett earned All-Metro honors and has not allowed a sack in two seasons as a starter.

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