November 8, 2006

Five-star Benn ready to go public

Washington (D.C.) Dunbar wide receiver Arrelious Benn is ready to make his decision public. The nation's No. 2 wide receiver will choose between Florida State, Notre Dame, Illinois and Maryland on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. EST at the ESPN Zone in Washington, D.C.


"Tomorrow is the day," said Dunbar head coach Craig Jeffries. "It's finally going to happen. I was hoping he'd be done with things by now but I think he played it smart to wait things out and make sure. He's very happy with his choice."


Benn, a 6-foot-1, 214-pounder, had long been a Notre Dame lean but more recent visits to Illinois, Florida State and Maryland have made the decision much harder. Inside sources have said that Benn will choose between Illinois and Florida State tomorrow, but Jeffries isn't so sure.


"He's been considering all four schools," he said. "I think they've done a good job recruiting him and he's just more comfortable with one school. We'll find out tomorrow night where he's going."


Benn took two unofficial visits to Notre Dame and made an official trip to South Bend, Ind. on Nov. 8 for their win over Penn State. He followed that with visits to Illinois (Sept. 22 - loss to Iowa), Florida State (Oct. 20 - loss to Boston College) and Maryland (Oct. 27 - win over Florida State).


Benn has long maintained the importance of the quarterback at the program he picks and his role in the offense. All four programs have good young signal-callers he's been impressed with - Jimmy Clausen heading to Notre Dame, Xavier Lee at Florida State, Juice Williams at Illinois and Josh Portis at Maryland.







Farrell's Forecast
Notre Dame was my pick all summer and into September but something changed when Benn visited Illinois on Sept. 22. Coach Mike Locksley has done an amazing job recruiting Benn for the Illini and I think will be his destination. This one will come down to Illinois and Florida State which is an odd pairing and I think one of the biggest recruiting upsets in recent history will occur.


Forecast: Illinois

Confidence Level: Medium

-- Rivals.com National Analyst Mike Farrell



"That's a key for me," Benn has said. "I want to go to a program where I can catch a lot of passes and play with a good young quarterback that I feel comfortable with."



Benn has offers from more than 40 different programs but narrowed down his list very early. There were rumors regarding a commitment to Notre Dame in August and then again in late September prior to the Illinois visit. In fact, Benn enrolled in harder classes this semester at Dunbar in preparation for early enrollment at Notre Dame. However, it appears that the Irish are a longshot at this point according to sources. But Benn maintained that all the schools are equal earlier this week.


"I could go to any of the four," he said on Monday. "I've spent the last week or so not answering the phone or talking to coaches. I've just spent some time alone and with my family and those close to me talking about things. I'm almost ready to decide."


So Thursday, Nov. 9 will be decision day for Benn. The big question is - will this be one of the biggest recruiting surprises in recent memory? Stay tuned.



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