April 27, 2007

Orgeron, Kehoe get big Texas lineman

Ole Miss Head coach Ed Orgeron has always said he and his staff will go anywhere there is a legitimate player to recruit.

It's no secret that Orgeron recruits on a national level, but an international level?

The Rebels latest commitment Mario Benavides lives in the small town of Los Fresnos Texas, approximately less than 15 miles to the Texas/ Mexico border.

"I'm glad Ole Miss found me down here," laughed Benavides Thursday afternoon. "I just committed to Ole Miss a few minutes ago after I got out of school. I sat down with my high school coach at 1 p.m. and went over all the positives and decided it was the place for me."

Benavides made his pledge official shortly after 4:00 p.m. when he called Ole Miss Head coach Ed Orgeron.

"He was very excited about having me a part of their football program," Benavides said. "It's a dream come true for me to play big time football in a big time conference like the SEC."

The First team Texas Class 5A All-State offensive lineman received his official offer on Wednesday from Ole Miss and wasted no time in making up his mind.

"First thing I did was discuss it with my parents Wednesday evening," Benavides said. "I was so impressed on the things and compliment that veteran line coach Art Kehoe had to say about me. It was very humbling coming from a man with experience and expertise."

According to Benavides, Kehoe is apparently impressed with the young man's talents.

"He just kept telling me how impressed he was with my film and loved the way I dominated my opponents," Benavides said. "Coach Kehoe said I was the top lineman on his wish list and that he would love a chance to work with me. That was enough for me."

Benavides, a 6-foot-4, 285-pound athlete that runs a 4.8 forty and a 4.45 shuttle run, made it clear that he is being recruited to be an offensive tackle.

"Some people think I'm a guard, but I'm a tackle," Benavides said. "Coach Kehoe loves the way I run and how aggressive I am."

According to Benavides veteran coach Scott Ford, Ole Miss is getting a great one.

"Some of the bigger Texas Schools are going to be scratching their head on this one," Ford said. "It's hard for a young man to be recognized down here, a lot of folks don't come this far to recruit. Ole Miss had done an outstanding job recruiting Mario."

"Mario is not only a great player with unlimited potential; he will smash you in the mouth. He is also a great young man."

Regardless if the big Texas schools come calling, Benavides says he is solid on his commitment.

"Commitment means a lot to me," Benavides said. "Ole Miss believes in me and I believe in Ole Miss."

Benavides is also a scholar student; he holds a 4.0 G.P.A. and has already scored a 1450 on the SAT.

What makes Benavides such a great lineman?

"I would have to say my strength is a big plus," Benavides said. "I have quick feet which makes me great against the rush. I have only given up one sack in two years."

According to Coach Ford, Benavides bench presses over 400 pounds, squats well over 550 and power cleans in the 330 area.

"He is definitely one of the strongest players around our area," Ford said. "His work ethic is tremendous."

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