Overview: Perhaps no other player in Ohio's class of 2011 is hotter right now than Michael Bennett, who is accumulating Division I scholarship offers at a scorching pace. Now with over 25 offers in hand, the versatile offensive line prospect can literally choose from some of the best programs in the nation. Some of the programs who have already extended scholarships are Alabama, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State, Notre Dame, and Wisconsin, among others.
Scouts are in love with Bennett's uncanny athleticism for a player his size (4.95-second 40-yard dash) and an aggressive demeanor on the field. While Bennett is predominately being recruited as an offensive lineman at the next level, some schools are very intrigued with the idea of using his size and strength on the defensive line. In limited duty on the defensive side of the ball, Bennett has been virtually unblockable. These programs could be on to something, as Bennett has all the tools to become a disruptive force in the middle given his God-given strength and athletic attributes.
Strengths: Michael is a gifted athlete that is extremely powerful and explosive. He plays with leverage and has a good understanding of angles. When you turn on the film he immediately stands out. His motor and passion for the game is evident in how he plays. This kid plays football the way it is supposed to be played: with bad intentions. Michael is a fluid runner and does a good job on pulls and screens. He's strong at the point of attack and never stops his feet on contact.
Areas for Improvement: Currently, Michael is not a top flight offensive lineman; he is a top flight talent. It's his passion and athletic prowess that is carrying him on the offensive side of ball. He plays with "tunnel-vision" far too frequently. Once he locks onto a target, it's all he can see. Great offensive linemen are great multi-taskers. His pass protection ability isn't developed to the level it should be. He must continue to develop upper body strength and learn how to do a better job using his hands. Often times he plays with too much weight forward in his stance.
Bentley's Projection: Selfishly, I would love for Michael to move to center while in college. I know he has the ability to become a phenomenal center given his physical tools. The film that I've seen on him has been unbelievable, but what has awed me the most have been his efforts on the defensive side of the ball. Michael Bennett is a flat out beast as a defensive lineman. Colleges would be wasting their time recruiting him as an offensive player. By the time it would take for him to develop into a starting offensive lineman, he could become an all-conference defensive player. His frame is perfect to mature into a highly disruptive college defensive tackle in the mold of the Kansas City Chiefs former first-round selection Ryan Sims out of North Carolina.
LeCharles Bentley is a former NFL Pro-Bowl offensive lineman with the New Orleans Saints and Cleveland Browns. He is one of only seven offensive linemen in the history of NFL to earn Pro-Bowl berths at multiple positions. LeCharles attended The Ohio State University and garnered consensus All-American honors, Big Ten offensive lineman of the year honors and The Dave Rimington Trophy presented to the nation's top center annually. His high school career at Cleveland St. Ignatius was coupled with an Ohio State Championship and a host of individual honors.
Currently LeCharles owns and operates The L. Bentley O-line Academy while his Bentley Report serves as the nation's only offensive line evaluation service to many prominent universities. He also serves as a guest columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and color analyst and commentator for various television networks. His radio shows can be heard on ESPN 1540am on Monday's at 4 pm EST.
To read more from LeCharles visit www.o-lineworld.com, the premier information and networking hub for offensive linemen and coaches throughout the world.