June 15, 2009

Experts agree: Benedict commitment huge

The experts agree: When Brent Benedict verbally to committed to Georgia Monday afternoon it qualified as big news; Real big.

"He's one of the most athletic big men that I've ever seen. Period," Rivals.com recruiting analyst Barry Every said. "He's got a 30-inch vertical jump and off the line of scrimmage he is a legitimate 5.0 or faster. He can fly. Georgia does not have anyone (lineman) on the team who is this athletic."

According to Rivals' Jamie Newberg, getting the Bolles School product, the nation's fifth-rated offensive tackle, was a coup for the Bulldogs.

"This is a monster pickup for Georgia. To go down to the Sunshine State and pull one of the top linemen in the nation is huge," Newberg said. "They beat Florida in their own backyard, USC and others. Benedict is an exceptional offensive line prospect that's nasty, has great size, feet and athleticism. The Dawgs have really picked it up in Florida."

Fellow Rivals' recruiting analyst Barton Simmons has seen Benedict numerous times. According to Simmons, Benedict fits every criteria college coaches are looking for when they go about finding that prototypical left tackle.

"I tell you what, Georgia is certainly getting not only one of the top offensive lineman in the southeast, but one of the best in the country," Simmons said. "He is as athletic as any lineman you're going to find. He already has a great frame and is a good-looking kid for a high school prospect. He's a player who I think will be further along when he gets on campus. There's no telling how good he can be."

Every thinks he has an idea.

"He's a freak. (Benedict) and (Seantrell) Henderson are the two most athletic offensive linemen in the nation," Every said. "Barring injury … I won't go quite as far as to say he'll be a first-round draft pick, but he'll be a first-day draft pick for sure."

Simmons agrees:

"You look at the offensive linemen in his class and where (Benedict) is physically and athletically and I don't think that's much of a stretch," Simmons said. "You're talking about a big strong kid, with great feet and that gumption, that nasty streak you want out of your offensive linemen."

Benedict becomes the sixth verbal commitment for the Bulldogs, joining linebackers B.J. Butler and Marc Deas from Kissimmee, Fla., defensive end Jalen Fields from Dalton, offensive lineman Kolton Houston from Buford and wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers from Calhoun.

A four-star performer who Rivals ranks as the fourth-best receiver in the country, Simmons believes that Rogers' commitment last week, coupled with Benedict's on Monday, will give Georgia a tremendous shot in the arm.

"Physically, Da'Rick is ready to take on the SEC season already. He's a physically impressive guy," Simmons said. "You follow that up by adding a big national guy to your list like Benedict and that can really get the ball rolling. A lot of other top recruits are going to start falling in line as well. Again, this is just huge for Georgia's momentum. Great classes are built on momentum, and with Da'Rick and Brent, Georgia certainly has that."

The Bulldogs beat out over 50 other schools for Benedict's services, including schools like Florida, Southern Cal, Michigan and Notre Dame.

"I had not heard he was about to pull the trigger, but I'm not surprised to see him pull the trigger early for Georgia," Simmons said. "Mark Richt normally builds his classes by getting a good group early. Initially, it seemed he might have been a bit slow compared to some of the other SEC schools. But with Benedict and Rogers, it's absolutely huge for this class."

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