April 4, 2009

Benedict taking a tour

Brent Benedict from Jacksonville (Fla.) Bolles wanted to use his spring break wisely so instead of sitting home or spending time with friends, he hit the road and visited a bunch of schools that have offered to figure out what might fit best.

He went to North Carolina, Georgia, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and Duke during his week off from high school at Jacksonville (Fla.) Bolles. He talked with coaches, toured campuses, watched practices and got a general feel for what campus life is like.

So many schools have offered that Benedict, a 6-foot-5, 278-pound offensive tackle rated as the No. 40 recruit by Rivals.com, will have a tough decision to make when it's time to pick a college. But he's been doing his research and this first road trip was just the start of figuring out which college offers the most.

"The whole point of the trip was to see what every school has to offer and if there is anything in particular that sticks out," Benedict said. "Each school definitely had its own thing and its own feeling going on and all of them were great schools.

"Part of the trip was to see, do I want a big school, do I want a small school, and I'm still not quite certain to the answer of that question. It gave me a good sense of what is out there. I saw what each different school has which is unique about it."

There might be another round of trips this summer but Benedict is still unsure of his plans. Spring football at Bolles starts May 1 and that is his primary focus. Then the school year will be finished and he will have a chance to get out and see more schools.

A family reunion in Pennsylvania this summer could assist him in seeing some college in the north that have offered - Boston College, Michigan, Notre Dame and Rutgers are involved - and Benedict said he'd also like to check out Alabama. He was expected to be at Florida this weekend again and has already been to Gainesville four times.

"Florida is a school I'm obviously seriously considering," he said. "They have a great coaching staff and they win national titles, and every one wants to win in college. Two national titles in three years is a huge deal."

One of the stops that stood out during his recent tour was in North Carolina, where Benedict saw the Tar Heels practice and he got a better feel for what they have to offer. The experience coach Butch Davis had in the NFL and the relationship Benedict has developed with offensive line coach Sam Pittman are pluses for UNC.

"The facilities are very nice up there and the coaching staff has a lot of professional experience, I was surprised by that," Benedict said. "Coach Davis and coach Pittman, the offensive line coach, I was pretty impressed with what I saw and I like the North Carolina campus also.

"North Carolina has an excellent degree and education to offer. With coach Davis there, he knows how to win and that definitely builds confidence in the program as well with the guys already there. It's impressive they have the staff that they have."

His most recent offer comes from Southern Cal, an offer that is one of his biggest thus far.

"Southern Cal offered me Thursday," he said. "That was a huge offer and I'm very interested in them and hope to get out there this summer. USC only recruits the top players so to get an offer is an honor."

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