Future Forecast: Michael Bennett

In the second of a new regular series on BuckeyeSports.com, we take a look at what impact a verbal commitment might make when he dons scarlet and gray. Next up is in-state defensive line prospect Michael Bennett of Centerville.

Michael Bennett is an intriguing prospect whose future role some college had a hard time nailing down because of the multiple ways his Centerville High School coaches ask him to help them win ballgames.

A two-way player at one of the top programs in southwestern Ohio, the 6-3, 275-pounder is ticketed for defense at Ohio State, but his film is impressive both ways.

In the Elks' triple-option offense, Bennett shows good leg drive and a quick first step off the ball. He finishes blocks well against players of all sizes and shows the ability to find defenders beyond the first level.

Defensively, he looks like an aggressive one-gap player who is a handful for offensive linemen one on one. He possesses the athleticism to change direction and make tackles once he gets into the backfield.

In Ohio State's base defense, his best fit looks to be the 3-technique/end hybrid Ohio State used in its 3-4 look last year to take advantage of big-framed, powerful players such as Doug Worthington, Cameron Heyward and Robert Rose.

Defensive coordinator and line coach Jim Heacock and head coach Jim Tressel have been stockpiling such players in recent classes, so Bennett may have to be patient before finding much college playing time.

There could be as many as 10 players vying for minutes at the two starting end/3-technique positions in 2011, including Bennett and fellow 2011 verbal commitments Chase Farris and perhaps Ken Hayes, who could be ticketed for the Leo (weakside defensive end/linebacker) position depending on how much weight he puts on in the meantime.

Regardless of who starts, at least four players figures to earn regular playing time, and there will be four Buckeyes in their third or fourth year on campus in 2011: John Simon (who could also play noseguard), Keith Wells, Adam Bellamy and Melvin Fellows. Class of 2010 signees J.T. Moore and Darryl Baldwin figure to throw their hats in the ring as well.

Bennett and the rest of those players mentioned will also vie for playing time in Ohio State's nickel defense, where getting penetration and rushing the passer is at a greater premium and the nose tackle is often replaced for a quicker, lighter player.

We will have a Future Forecast for Hayes, Farris and the rest of the Ohio State 2011 class soon on BuckeyeSports.com.

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