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July 19, 2004

Martellus Bennett the ankle breaker

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Many words have been used to describe Alief (Texas) Taylor tight end Martellus Bennett. Words like incredible and amazing often come to mind, but after a memorable performance this past weekend at the FoxSportsNet Texas 7-on-7 State Championship two words really only apply.

The best.

Martellus Bennett is the best in the Lone Star State. After watching Bennett, a 6-foot-7, 237-pound playmaker shred helpless defenders on the way to consolation championship game on Saturday, it's become crystal clear that he is a one of a kind athlete and definitely worthy of being named the top player in the Texas.

To put it mildly, Bennett dominated and carried his team all the way to Kyle Field on Saturday, where it eventually lost to Colleyville Heritage 32-26 in the consolation championship game.

Defenses would put three or four guys around Bennett, but it still would not matter. With his muscular but lean 6-7 frame, Bennett was able to not only out muscle but also out jump anybody that attempted to cover him. If the ball was thrown his direction, he was going to come down with it - guaranteed.

As Taylor advanced into the later rounds of the tournament, teams tried to get more aggressive with Bennett and would often knock him down to the ground time after time when he would make a catch, which is a big no, no in seven-on-seven play.

Bennett, like a real warrior, would slowly get up, not say a word to the defenders talking trash, walk back to the huddle and then come back out and do it all over the next play.

"That's just how Martellus plays," his father, Michael Bennett, said. "He has this quiet confidence about himself. He goes out and plays hard and lets the others do the talking. He does his talking with his play on the field."

It's hard to single out one catch in the tournament that stood out, because there were numerous ones. But it was a consolation bracket quarterfinal game against Corsicana where Bennett was at his best.

Taylor won the game 40-14, and Bennett accounted for 32 of the team's points. Despite Corsicana locking three players to cover Bennett, including a safety over the top, the Tigers weren't able to slow him down. Eventually, Corsicana decided to drop more defenders back into zone to keep Bennett from being a player man-to-man.

The tactic worked for a total of two plays.

That's when Bennett went to work on shorter routes, including one beauty where he caught a short hitch, cut back to his left, then back to his right and eventually across the field again for a long score.

That play caused a huge thunder of cheers from the Taylor sideline.

"Martellus the ankle-breaker," one fan shouted. "You can't stop him. You can't even contain him."

Nobody did throughout the tournament, and Bennett definitely showed that he's worthy of the five-star and No. 1 tight end ranking by Rivals.com. Now he said he's ready to take the mantle as the top player in the state of Texas.

"I've been telling you that's where I belong," Bennett said with a sly grin. "If that's where you guys end up ranking me, then it would be a great honor. I still have a long way to go and know that I must keep working hard if I want to get to where I know I can get."


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