June 22, 2009

Madison Central teammates talk recruiting

With summer temperatures pushing the mercury into the triple digits, preseason football practice is sure to be a scorcher.

The contact practices will be difficult for all players, but Madison Central's (Madison, Miss.) Bryon Bennett is getting conditioned and earning a little extra coin in the process. Bennett is mowing yards while working in a few camps to move along his recruitment.

"I'm cutting grass, working out and am about to make a point to check out all these schools," said Bennett, a defensive tackle rated four stars by Rivals.com. "It's pretty hot, but we've got work to do this fall to get the first ring for 6-A. I am eager to narrow college options, but the season is most important right now.

"We want to find some competition and show the world."

Madison Central is a favorite to claim the state title in 2009 after falling to South Panola in the semifinals last season. Coached by Bobby Hall, the Jaguars are anchored by a stifling defense with defensive linemen Bennett (6-foot-2, 250) and fellow four-star prospect Carlton Martin (6-foot-2, 268).

"We should have won it last year, but this is our time," said Martin, who plays defensive end.

The teammates are focused on the championship goal, and they share many of the same college suitors also.

Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Southern Miss have offered both players, along with several out-of-state colleges. Arkansas and Baylor have offered Bennett and Martin, while Alabama is in the picture for the pair as well.

"Arkansas just offered me, and Alabama's is here or will be soon," Bennett said. "Baylor is a school we like because of the family atmosphere and how they are about the church and stay together. I want to make sure I get out there and look at them."

Martin's comment's mirrored Bennett's: "I plan to check out Baylor among the camps this summer. And then some around here. There's an Alabama camp in July I'm planning to attend."

While Bennett and Martin want to begin the sorting of schools, a decision isn't expected soon.

"They're all about the same right now," Martin said. "I just want to wait and see how it goes. I don't think anything will be close to decided until November or December."

"I want the seasons to play out, but I have a lot of interest in Alabama and LSU right now," Bennett said. "LSU hasn't offered, so I want to see them. That's the goal of the camps, to test myself against other athletes and try to impress the coaches. Carlton and I did that at Tennessee a couple weeks ago, and that'll be the plan everywhere else too."

Bennett named Ole Miss his leader in March, and while he has come off that statement somewhat, the Rebels are still on his mind.

"I'm going to hit Ole Miss up in July, and I had a great time when I was there a while ago," Bennett said. "I'm comfortable there and know the school. I don't know as much about the new schools, so that's why the interest is higher right now. I've always like Ole Miss."

Although so many schools have mutual interest in the players, Bennett and Martin aren't a package deal. But they wouldn't mind it working out that way.

"Carlton and I would like to play together at the next level, and we bounce stuff one another," Bennett said. "But that won't necessarily happen. We'll see as it gets closer. It would be cool."

Bennett had 72 tackles in 2008. Martin had 59 tackles, five sacks and two fumble recoveries.

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