Bennett to Follow Prince Again?

When UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince injured his knee at Encino (Calif.) Crespi his senior year, Bryan Bennett, the 6-3.5, 185-pounder took over, and Prince became his mentor. Might the relationship continue on the next level?

As Encino (Calif.) Crespi quarterback Bryan Bennett (6-3.5, 185) prepares for his third season as the Celts' starter, he's anxiously awaiting his first scholarship offer.

"Right now, I'm getting a lot of stuff, just a lot of letters, a lot more of the handwritten stuff from the Pac-10, and a little from out-of-state schools," said Bennett. "I'm getting handwritten letter from Rutgers and Notre Dame. I've been talking on the phone a lot with the coach from Colorado State, and Coach (Todd) Sturdy from Washington State is also very interested and he said I'm definitely in the running to be an early offer from Washington State as well as Colorado State."

And a few more Pac-10 schools have been in contact with Bennett.

"I've been e-mailing with Arizona, and I've talked with UCLA. I'd love to be at UCLA but I have to see how they feel about me and how they are recruiting me," said Bennett.

His top five is a Pac-10-heavy group.

"My top schools would be UCLA, Cal, Oregon, Arizona and Washington State," said Bennett. "But I wouldn't mind anything in the Pac-10."

One of Bennett's mentors is Kevin Prince, who starts UCLA's spring practice today listed #1 on the depth chart, despite not having played since September of 2007.

It was that injury to Prince in the season opener in 2007 that thrust Bennett into the starting job for Crespi, when he was just a sophomore expecting to backup and learn from Prince that year. But when Prince was sidelined for the remainder of the year, Bennett eased into the role, leading Crespi to the CIF-SS Pac-5 title game and gleaning a lot from Prince.

"Kevin was definitely a big influence on me when he was at Crespi and was a big help to polish me into what I am now," said Bennett. "He was always there to give at the time as much physical support as he could do. It made us closer. Whenever I see him, we'll throw the ball down, talk about UCLA. I always thought a lot of Kevin and it's no surprise that he's going to probably be the starter."

Bennett has been running the shotgun spread for Crespi, but said he's continuing to work in the offseason to grasp a more pro-style set.

"In high school, we've been running the shotgun spread, so if I went and played in that, it already would be fresh in my mind," said Bennett. "But I could always play in a pro-style offense. With my quarterback coach, we're throwing from 5-steps, 7-steps, so that's not going to be too big of an obstacle for me."

Bennett said much of the feedback he's getting from coaches is that the spring will be a chance for him to throw when they watch. "The coaches have told me they definitely want to come to some practices and get a final evaluation," said Bennett. "One of my strengths, when a coach comes to watch me, is I can show the agility that I have and my athleticism."

Pretty exceptional athleticism, in fact, for a quarterback. Bennett has been clocked at a 4.6 in the forty, a 4.1 in the shuttle and is currently ranked third among California high schoolers in the triple jump, with a 45-7 season best. He also does the long jump and runs the 4x100 for Crespi.

But when college comes, he'll stick with football. "I like track a lot, but when I get to college, I'll just focus on football," said Bennett.

He's also not in a rush to make a decision. "A lot depends on the offers I get, but I don't want to just rush into something I'm not happy with," said Bennett. "But if I get a good, solid offer, I wouldn't mind committing. But I'll probably just let it play out."

Bennett was one of the standouts at the Los Angeles Combine a year ago, earning all-combine underclass honors, and he'll be back at the Combine next month. He'll also camp at the Los Angeles Nike Camp and was at the UnderArmour Combine last weekend.

Academically, he has a 3.0 GPA and will take the SAT this weekend.

During his 2008 junior season at Crespi, Bennett was 108-for-195 for 1,622 yards and threw 10 touchdown passes and ran for 193 yards on 49 carries, with three touchdowns. His sophomore year saw him lead Crespi to the Serra League title and the finals of the CIF-SS Pac-5 playoffs and he threw for 2,133 yards and 17 touchdowns.

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