Earl Bennett Races to Record Book

Commodore wide receiver Earl Bennett is on a pace to break SEC records in career total receptions and career total yardage. VandyMania caught up with the All-American wide receiver to discuss the upcoming season and his thoughts about being a student athlete at Vanderbilt.

VandyMania: How does it feel to get all the attention you've been getting?

Earl Bennett: It's been pretty cool, it's been overwhelming because coming in I just wanted to come in and help the team the best way I can and go to a bowl game. Of course, I had a few accolades; it feels kind of good but my main objective is to go to a bowl game.

VM: You caught 79 passes as a freshman and 82 as a sophomore. What is your goal for your junior season?

EB: To try and do better than that. My coach from back home said that each year you just have to get better so I just want to progress and do better than last year.

VM: If you do better than last year you are going to break every receiving record the SEC has. How does that feel?

EB: I just want to compete and just play as hard as I can. I just thank God for allowing me, and giving me the athletic ability, to go out and compete like that.

VM: Wow, he sure did give you athletic ability. Who are some of the younger receivers on the team that you think we should look out for?

EB: Of course we already know about Sean Walker, last year he had a big year and he did great over the spring; look out for him. A couple of other players I'd say, Alex Washington; he's a phenomenal player and he's definitely going to help us this year. We have a couple more, Larry Simmons and Justin Wheeler, both of those guys are competing hard and we are just getting ready to have a strong receiving corps this year.

VM: What's a normal day like for you Earl?

EB: On Tuesday and Thursday I have 8 o'clock classes so after I finish my class I'm usually done by 12. I grab some lunch and sit around and chat with a few friends on campus. After that I just get ready to come to practice. After practice I head straight to my room and get some studying in and get ready to do it all over again.

VM: You are majoring in Education, right?

EB: Yes, Secondary Education and Sociology.

VM: So what kind of subjects do you want to teach?

EB: I'm hoping to get my Masters Degree and then hopefully get my PhD and be a professor and try to teach sociology but, if not, just probably teach social studies.

VM: Any interest at all in coaching?

EB: Yes, definitely, I want to be a coach to help other people the way my coaches have helped me throughout my career.

VM: What are some of the ways the coaches have helped that helped develop you into a great player?

EB: My coaches did a lot; they taught me the fundamentals, how to use my athletic ability, and when to do certain things. For instance, coach Fisher is teaching me how to become a complete player; making sure I drop my heels running routes, making sure I don't turn my whole shoulders when I'm looking back for a deep ball. There are all sorts of things that my coaches have been teaching me.

VM: What about the NFL? Is that something that you are anxious to go to? What are your thoughts on the NFL, you are definitely going to be an NFL prospect. Are you excited about the opportunity to play in the NFL?

EB: Yes, I'm definitely excited about the opportunity but I'm not so anxious to get ready to leave. I love Vanderbilt, I love being here and I'm just enjoying my time here. The NFL has been a goal of mine since I was a kid; I always wanted to play there but I'm not real anxious to get there because the NFL is not going anywhere.

VM: So, you are taking the Jay Cutler route to the NFL?

EB: Right, right. Yes.

Vanderbilt Single-Season Receptions
Rec. Name Yards Year
1. 97 Keith Edwards 909 1983
2. 82 Earl Bennett 1,146 2006
3. 79 Bob Goodridge 1,114 1967
3. 79 Earl Bennett 876 2005
5. 78 Boo Mitchell 1,213 1988

Vanderbilt Career Receptions
Rec. Name Yards Years
1. 200 Keith Edwards 1,757 1980, 82-83
2. 188 Boo Mitchell 2,964 1985-88
3. 182 Dan Stricker 2,880 1999-2002
4. 161 Earl Bennett 2,022 2005-06

Vanderbilt Career Receiving Yards
Rec. Yd. Name Years
1. 2,964 Boo Mitchell 1985-88
2. 2,880 Dan Stricker 1999-2002
3. 2,275 Martin Cox 1975-78
4. 2,219 Chuck Scott 1981-84
5. 2,022 Earl Bennett 2005-06

SEC Single-Season Receptions
Rec. Name School Year
1. 97 Keith Edwards Vandy 1983
2. 94 Josh Reed LSU 2001
3. 90 James Whalen UK 1999
4. 88 Carlos Alvarez UF 1969
88 Chad Jackson UF 2005
6. 85 Craig Yeast UK 1998
7. 82 Earl Bennett Vandy 2006
8. 80 Wendell Davis LSU 1986
9. 79 Bob Goodridge Vandy 1967
79 Earl Bennett Vandy 2005
SEC Career Receptions
Rec. Name School Years
1. 208 Craig Yeast UK 1995-98
2. 204 Terrence Edwards UGA 1999-2002
3. 200 Keith Edwards Vandy 1980, 82-84
4. 198 Chris Collins Ole Miss 2000-03
5. 197 Derek Abney UK 2000-03
6. 194 Anthony White UK 1996-99
7. 188 Boo Mitchell Vandy 1985-88
8. 183 Wendell Davis LSU 1984-87
8. 183 Joey Kent UT 1993-96
10. 182 Brice Hunter UGA 1992-95
10. 182 Dan Stricker Vandy 1999-2002
10. 182 Michael Clayton LSU 2001-03
13. 177 Marcus Nash UT 1994-97
14. 172 Carlos Alvarez UF 1969-71
15. 167 Josh Reed LSU 1999-2001
16. 162 David Smith MSU 1968-70
16. 162 Willie Jackson UF 1990-93
18. 161 Fred Gibson UGA 2001-04
18. 161 Earl Bennett Vandy 2005-06
20. 160 Zola Davis USC 1995-98

Earl Bennett catches a winning touchdown pass on a memorable day in Knoxville during the 2005 season. (VM/Stan Jones)

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