With the 2016 recruiting class all but filled, much attention has been turned to the 2017 class. One of the top targets for Texas Tech is four-star Wylie (Tex.) East running back Eno Benjamin.
With over 2,600 yards, 41 touchdowns rushing and over 3,000 all-purpose yards this fall, 5-foot-10, 190-pound Benjamin burst onto the national scene as a junior.
"Last year, I didn't know what I was doing wrong," Benjamin said. "I didn't think I had a bad year with over 1,700 yards and 25 touchdowns. This season, I knew I had to amp my game up. The junior year is when you have to make that big jump so I went into the off-season with a chip on my shoulder. I came back this fall much stronger and faster than I was last year. I also became more patient and was a student of the game. When you're a running back, you can't just run everything as fast as you can. Sometimes you have to be patient and wait for blocks and look for your crease. It's about having a feel for your line and knowing where the double teams are going, who is going to release to second level and when, and having the timing of it all down. I also watched a lot of film on linebackers and defensive ends and how they play against the run. I think that helped me a lot know who pursues at what angles and shoots what gaps so I knew where my lanes and cutbacks would be. Not only did I focus on my improvement, but I worked with my offensive line more. We had four out of the five starters from 2014 back so that helped a lot. They were amazing for me this season."
Currently holding 16 offers from national programs, there are a few that talk to Benjamin more than others right now.
Right now, Iowa is probably talking to me the most," Benjamin said. "It's either them or Northwestern. Iowa was telling me that if they had a running back like me, I could put them over the top because they have the linemen."
With the transition in coaches, Texas Tech hasn't reached out to Benjamin yet.
"I really haven't talked to Texas Tech since (Trey) Haverty and (Kevin) Curtis left since those were really the only two coaches I talked to," Benjamin said. "However, I'm not looking to go to a school just for coaches and with them being defensive coaches, they wouldn't have had that much of an impact on my career there with me being a running back.
"I know coach (Mike) Jinks is gone now too and he would've been my position coach, but he took a head coaching job (at Bowling Green) and you can't fault him for that. It would've been nice to play for him when you look at what DeAndre (Washington) did, but I really didn't have much of a relationship with him. Besides, sinces I'm only a junior, I will get to see how the next running back coach is and I am sure I'll get to know him well before I decide anyways so Jinks leaving really doesn't factor into my decision much at all."
Not only is Benjamin one of the top running backs on Texas Tech's board, but he is also one of 2017 commit Jack Anderson's best friends. However, that will only factor into his decision a small amount.
"It's awesome that Jack is committed to Texas Tech and they want me as well," Benjamin said. "But I can't base my choices off of his choices because he is going to do what is best for him and I am going to do what's best for me. Would it be cool to play with him? Absolutely. But I'm not going to go to a school just because he goes there. If it works out that Texas Tech is the place for me, then it'll be awesome to be his teammate for four years, but if not, that won't change anything between us."
With the college season all but wrapped up, Benjamin isn't planning any trips for the rest of 2015. However, 2016 will be very different.
"During spring break I will start making a lot of trips," Benjamin said. "With a lot of my offers being out of state, I need to see what they have to offer me and that seems like the best time to get that all started."
Wherever he visits first, Benjamin will surely be reminded that he has in fact arrived as a national recruit. And he still has a year left.null