Juco center taking official to OM on Saturday

Ben Contreras (OC, San Francisco, CA) - The 6' 3", 290 pound center out of San Fransico prepped at Alexander Valley in Pleasanton (CA) out of high school but found himself on the outside looking in, despite being a full qualifier.

"CCSF had a few of my friends already over here including my former teammate, Corey Dehl, so I decided to give it a try," added Ben Contreras. "I did not have any offers coming out of high school. I was too small (6' 2", 260) , so I wanted to get bigger and better my stock by coming here first."

The '05 season saw Ben take a greyshirt to work on his strength and size, and he used it to his advantage.

"I put on 30 good pounds in the last two years. My strength was no where were it needed to be in high school (275 bench) but I improved that by over a 100 pounds in my greyshirt season and my freshman season."

Contreras made a position change from offensive tackle to center when he arrived at CCSF.

"I played tackle until I got here. Our starting center graduated the year I greyshirted, so they moved me over to center. I started every game last year at center, and I have started all three games this year at center, so I guess the move went pretty good."

CCSF is off to a 2-1 start and Ben believes the team is gelling.

"We are doing pretty good. We lost by 3 to Fresno on Saturday, so that was tough. Our defense played really good, but our offense had 6 turnovers. We are coming together though. I think we are going to be pretty good."

Ben believes his strength lies with his footwork.

"Probably my pass blocking and playing hard all of the time are my biggest strengths. Coach tells me that I am a good down the field blocker on screens and stuff. I run a 4.95 forty, so I have pretty good footwork for a guy my size."

The added experience at center has made him more comfortable this season.

"I know the system a lot better, therefore, I am way more aggressive. I know what calls to make at the line. I know how to read the defenses better."

Does center feel natural now?

"Now that I have played it for the past two years, it really does. It fits my strengths and body. I am not tall enough for tackle (6' 3"), and I can get out and move around really well. Yea, I wish they would have put me at center a long time ago."

How is recruiting going?

"Right now, Ole Miss is the only one calling me and stuff. I talked to Southern Cal in the Spring, and they said they were going to be watching me this season and see how it goes. Texas, UNLV, and Syracuse were all calling me in the Spring too, but I have not heard from them this fall. They write and stuff, but they are not calling me like Ole Miss."

How did Ben and Ole Miss' relationship develop?

"Coaches Neilsen and Orgeron came over here in the Spring and watched me play. They have been writing and calling me ever since."

Ben set up his first official visit with the University of Mississippi.

"I am going down there this weekend to see them play Florida. I can't wait."

What is Contreras going to concentrate on while he is on his visit?

"I am going to check out their facilities and see how it looks down there, the atmosphere and all. I have never been to Mississippi. It should be an adventure (laugh). Really, I hear they have great weather and it is on a beautiful campus with a lot of beautiful girls so it should be exciting. I also hear they have all new facilities."

What will Ben key in on during the game?

"I will watch the fans, the plays they run on offense, and things like that. I want to see if the speed is different than what I am use to."

Ben is scheduled to graduate in December.

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