Struggling to Narrow it Down

The #13th-ranked offensive tackle prospect in the country, 6-6, 290-pound Brent Benedict from Jaacksonville (Fla.) The Bolles School, said he never had a favorite college football program growing up and it's making his choice more difficult...


Brent Benedict, the 6-foot-6, 290-pound, four-star offensive tackle from The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Fla., has had a busy spring visiting schools and he says he's not done yet.

"I went to about eight schools during my spring break," Benedict said. "And I have a family reunion in Pennsylvania this summer, so we're gonna make that a road trip and I'll try and check out some more schools, like Michigan, Notre Dame, Michigan State, maybe even Ohio State. I'm not exactly sure yet."

Besides heading to the Midwest, Benedict says he'll also visit both USC and UCLA in June.

"I've been to LAX," he laughed. "We had a stopover on our way to Hawaii, so it's not like I really got to see Los Angeles.

"I really want to get a feel for the culture out there and see how it's different from the South," he said. "I'm really excited about taking that trip."

Both the Trojans and Bruins have already offered Benedict, who says he now has a total of 42 scholarships.

"I go to a small private school and USC is a private school too," he said. "It seems like a unique place and I've been told it's a good campus and good academically too."

But what Benedict likes most about the Trojans is their football program. "Coach Pete Carroll has had some amazing success," he said. "He's produced some great players who've gone off and done really well.

"Plus, they seem to be in the hunt for a national championship every year," he said. "If not, they're always in the top five."

While in Los Angeles, Benedict says he'll also visit UCLA.

"I've been told the UCLA campus is beautiful," Benedict said. "I think the offensive line coach (Bob Palcic) is great. He coached (offensive lineman) Joe Thomas at Wisconsin and he went in the first round (No. 3 pick in 2007 by the Cleveland Browns) a few years ago and he has NFL experience too. He's had a very impressive career.

"I also like how UCLA is one of the best academic programs in the country," he said.

Benedict, Scout.com's No. 13 offensive tackle, says he still doesn't have a leader but hopes to narrow down his list during the summer. "I'm not focusing on that too much right now," he said. "But I'd like to have it down to three or five before September.

"Otherwise, once the season starts I'll be focused on winning another state championship and not on recruiting," he said.

Growing up, Benedict denies ever following specific schools and says that's one reason why he's having such a tough time narrowing things down. "It's not like I've always had some school in my mind that was the leader," he said. "If I had grown up wanting to go somewhere I think this would be a little easier."

The eight schools that Benedict visited during his spring break are Georgia, Clemson, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Duke and Virginia Tech. He says he's also visited Florida several times as well.

"All the schools had something unique or nice about them," he said. "That's why I'm having so much fun visiting these schools because there's always something.

"Clemson was really nice," he said. "They have a cool history and I liked learning about Death Valley."

Another thing the Tigers have going for them is that they are only 20 minutes from Greenville, S.C., Benedict's birthplace and former hometown. "I've only lived in Florida for about three years," he said.

"That's really why location isn't going to be a factor," he said. "I think making that move in high school at 14 years old is more difficult than college. That's why I'm looking everywhere."

But that doesn't mean he isn't interested in local favorite Florida (only one and half hours from his house). "Florida is a strong school athletically and academically," Benedict said. "It's just a very impressive place. I love their tradition and how they've been winning."

Another school Benedict visited during his vacation was Wake Forest, which he says reminded him of Bolles. "It's also a private school, so it had that vibe to it," he said.

"They've actually recruited Bolles well and they have some guys there already," Benedict said. "Riley Skinner (senior quarterback) goes there and he went to Bolles too."

"North Carolina was really nice," he said. "They've got an up-and-coming program. Coach Butch Davis is really getting things going. He has a history of winning and has built them into a quality program."

Benedict also likes the outlook of Duke. "Coach David Cutcliffe is a great coach," he said. "He's coached both the Mannings (Eli and Peyton) and he's from the SEC, so he knows what it takes to win."

Speaking of the SEC, the only SEC school that Benedict visited during his spring break was Georgia. "I really like the SEC," Benedict said. "They have a great program and I really enjoyed all the coaches. It was a fun experience.

"I also liked Virginia Tech a lot," he said. "That campus was really nice. Everything there is all stone and really beautiful."

So what's going to help Benedict narrow down his choices? "I've got a checklist of things that I'll be looking at," he said. "Things likes academics, athletics, majors, coaches, campus – they're all on there.

"The visits and getting to meet all the coaches and players and seeing everything for myself is going to be real important," he said. "I don't think you can substitute actually doing that in person."

Benedict says he can bench 400-pounds, squats 550 and has a 32-inch vertical jump.

"I think I've been coached well and have a high level of discipline," he said. "I have good size and strength and think that I can dominate at the high school level. I'm also really athletic for my size.

"My school has been traditionally known as a running school so I'm pretty strong on run protection," he said.

"But this year we've got a pretty good strong-armed quarterback and plan on passing the ball a lot more," he said. "I'm excited about that. I'll get to work on my pass protection and just work on being a better overall lineman."

Benedict wants to major in business and reports a 2.8 core GPA and a 1120 two-part SAT, which he plans on retaking.


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