Countdown 2007: Websider Impact Players - #5

Aggie Websider continues its look at 25 players who can make the biggest impact for the Aggies this year. These rankings are not necessarily based on talent, but rather, what contributions can be made by individuals to put Texas A&M back among the nation's elite programs. Junior tight end Martellus Bennett starts off the Top-5 at No. 5.

At 6-foot-7, Texas A&M tight end Martellus Bennett is one of the tallest players in the Big 12 Conference, but his larger than life image off the field is even bigger. Everywhere he goes, he puts a smile on the faces in the crowd, but he won't be putting too many smiles on the faces of opposing defensive coordinators in 2007.

For the second year in a row, he's been named to the John Mackey Award watch list (given to the nation's top tight end) and after giving up basketball earlier this spring, he's focusing entirely on football, which should prove to be a decision that many defenders around the league would like to have lobbied against.

What he's done so far

During his senior season of high school, Bennett was ranked as the No. 1 tight end in the state of Texas. The highly touted recruit eventually narrowed down his choices to LSU, Texas and A&M, and when he announced that he would call Texas A&M home, Aggies celebrated.

Through two seasons in the maroon and white, Bennett has not disappointed, on or off the field.

Bennett earned Freshman All-American honors in 2005 from after racking up 18 receptions for 162 yards and three touchdowns. He received honorable mention All-Big 12 honors from the conference coaches as well.

Between 2005 and 2006, however, Bennett spent a lot of time away from football, working out with Billy Gillispie and the A&M basketball team, which may have hampered his development somewhat.

But he still had a solid outing last year, posting 38 catches for 497 yards and three touchdowns. He was named a semifinalist for the John Mackey Award and voted to the Dallas Morning News' All-Big 12 first team. He hauled in five catches for 133 yards and two critical touchdowns—one for 75 yards—in the win against Baylor to earn Mackey Award Player of the Week honors as well.

Why he's important

Bennett can be a game changer in this year's offense. He's taller than just about any defender that the Aggies will face and creates a mismatch for linebackers and safeties trying to cover him. He is the leading receiver among returners from 2006, and with a full spring workout for the first time since arriving at A&M, those numbers should go up again.

In addition to his playmaking abilities, Bennett is also well known for his blocking abilities, which fellow impact players Jorvorskie Lane, Mike Goodson and Stephen McGee appreciate.

If Bennett steps up his production from a year ago, his plans to enter the NFL draft next April may not be so far-fetched.

2007 Aggie Websider Impact Players
6. Chris Harrington, DE
7. Danny Gorrer, CB
8. Jordan Pugh, X/LB
9. Mark Dodge, LB
10. Chris Alexander, FB
11. Jordan Peterson, DB
12. Devin Gregg, S
13. Alton Dixon, S
14. Misi Tupe, LB
15. Cyril Obiozor, DL
16. Cody Wallace, C
17. Matt Szymanski, PK
18. Earvin Taylor, WR
19. Kirk Elder, OL
20. Corey Clark, OL
21. Pierre Brown, WR
22. Chris Yoder, OL
23. Yemi Babalola, OL
24. Kerry Franks, WR/KR
25. Justin Brantly, P

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