Plant City quarterback Bennie Coney is one of the bay area's top recruits in the Class of 2012 and this past weekend the 3-star QB took a Junior Day visit to check out the hometown Bulls.
Coney arrived at the event late due to him taking the ACT for the first time and looked noticeably bigger than last season.
"I'm 6'2.5, and weighing 210 pounds now," said Coney. "Last season I was 6'1 and around 195 pounds. I've been lifting weights and going at it hard, just lifting, eating right and running."
The 3-star quarterback plays prep ball not too far from the USF campus, and liked the opportunity to see more of the Bulls during his junior day visit.
"It was pretty good and I actually enjoyed it," said Coney. "We got there late so we went to the basketball game for a bit, then we got a tour of the school, and they showed us how they run things.. They showed us the weight room and the new practice fields and stuff, so it was a pretty good visit."
"I actually thought everything I saw was all pretty great, and they've done so much since I was last there," said Coney. "They got three new practice fields that weren't even there the last time I was on campus when I came by to watch them practice. They're putting a lot of money into the facilities and doing a lot to build up their program, so I was impressed."
Coney came to the Junior Day event with teammate DL/OL Aquil Drone and met up with receiver Lamrlon Wiggins, and RB Dazmond Patterson. Bennie and several of his teammates stayed late and got a chance to talk with the USF coaching staff.
"I got to talk with Coach Shankweiler, the Head Coach Skip Holtz and got to talk with the rest of the coaches and get familiar with them," said Coney. "The coaching staff are all really cool people, and seem like they really care about the kids and not just about winning all the time. I talk to coach Shankweiler a lot, and think he's a really cool dude. He tells me all the time to come over and check them out and thinks I fit their system, he also says that he thinks I have a chance to be a special player, not just great, but a special player. That means a lot to me because a lot of people tell me that I could be good, but he thinks I could be special."
"I feel like they have a good program, and are still building the program up and they're always striving to be better," said Coney. "I like the offense they run with multiple sets, the shotgun, the spread, play action and stuff. We run a similar offense at my high school, so I'm used to it."
The Plant City stand-out only played in 4 games last season, but finished with 1,159 yards passing and 12 touchdowns, while rushing for 369 9yards and five touchdowns, and schools have taken notice.
Coney said he's enjoying the whole process but will be happy when it's all over. With an impressive list of schools offering Coney said he's open but does have a list of schools that stand out to him right now.
"Yeah it's a pretty impressive list," said Coney. "Right now I like FSU, Notre Dame, LSU, Michigan, Virginia Tech and USF."
As to what he's looking for in a college program, Coney said its not just about football.
"My mom always tells me that it's not all about football, so I'm actually looking at academics, because football is just a broken leg away from being gone," said Coney. "So I'm looking for a good academic program as well as a good football program. I'm looking for a place with a good coaching staff and where I could come in and get some playing time as early as possible."
In the classroom Coney said he has a 3.0 GPA and is awaiting his ACT test score
Stay tuned with USFNation.com as we keep you updated on Bennie Coney and the rest of the class of 2012