Birmingham wideout picks Commodores

Former University of Kentucky commitment <B>Earl Bennett</B>, a multi-purpose athlete from Birmingham's West End High School, called Vanderbilt coaches over the weekend to inform them he was ready to make a commitment.

Earl Bennett, the versatile, multi-purpose athlete from Birmingham, was supposed to take an official visit to Notre Dame over the weekend, but it didn't happen. "My parents weren't able to go, and I decided I didn't want to go by myself," he said.

As a result, Vanderbilt secured a commitment late in the recruiting game from one of its most coveted wide receiver prospects. The West End High School star will soon be headed to West End in Nashville.

"I decided to go ahead and make my commitment to Vanderbilt," Bennett said Sunday. The former University of Kentucky commitment called Commodore coaches Saturday to seal the deal.

"It's a lot closer [than Kentucky], it's a great academic school, and my parents and I liked it when we went up there and visited," Bennett said.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder, who twice last summer was clocked at 4.41 seconds in the 40-yard dash, becomes Vanderbilt's 23rd commitment for 2005. The No. 18 player on's Postseason Alabama Top 30, Bennett chose Vanderbilt over offers from Kentucky, Southern Miss and UAB. He had made a commitment to Kentucky during an official visit to Lexington the weekend of Dec. 3, but last week told VandyMania he had withdrawn that commitment after thoroughly enjoying a Jan. 21 official visit to Vanderbilt.

"What really impressed me was the coaches," Bennett said about Vanderbilt. "They said that I have a chance to play on both sides of the ball. And they have really good academic support, and I liked that too. I want to major in Sports Medicine."

Bennett had been one of the star receivers at Vanderbilt's Top Prospects camp last June 13, and could play either wide receiver or defensive back for the Commodores. In his senior year at West End, he played quarterback and running back in a spread offense, rushing for over 1,600 yards, with over 600 passing yards and over 600 receiving yards. As a free safety he had ten interceptions and over 40 tackles.


For a complete list of Vanderbilt's commitments for 2005, click here.

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