Malachi Bennett On Tennessee’s Radar

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Had a chance to catch up with Tennessee WR target the other day. The Birmingham-area standout talked about what he’s been doing during the shutdown, the current status of his recruitment, and more below.

Q: What’s your current height and weight?

A: “I’m 6’2, 185 pounds.”

Q: Tell me about your game as a WR.  What are your strengths and what are the major things you think you need to work on?

A: “ My strengths are attacking the ball, my jumping ability, and route running.  I’ve been working a lot on using my hands to get separation from DBs.”

Q: Do you feel like you’re going to be a leader for your team?  If so, what kind of leadership qualities do you bring?

A: “Yes sir.  I bring motivation to my teammates on and off the field.  And I’m big on showing younger guys the right way to do things.”

Q: Do you play any other sports?  Talk about those and how you think competing in multiple sports helps you on the gridiron.

A: “I play basketball, Small Forward.  It’s helped with my leaping ability.”

Q: What have you been doing workout wise during the shutdown?

A: “Drills, cone work, weights, and just a lot of running.”

Q: “How many times have you been to Tennessee’s campus?  Talk about the experience

A: “A lot, I think maybe six or seven times.  The facility really stands out.  The coaches just really treat you like you’re at home.  I’ve been to one game, UAB last season.”

Q: Who is your main recruiter on the Tennessee staff?

A: “Coach Niedermeyer has been recruiting me, but Coach Tee and I talk almost every day.  We talk about personal stuff, football stuff, school.  He’s just trying to get to know me better as a person.”

Q: What do you make of the recent run the Vols have been on?

A: “It shows me they’re doing a good job getting players.”

Q: Tennessee signed Reginald Perry from Fairfield Prep just this past February.  Do you know him well and what’s he told you about Tennessee?

A: “Yes, sir, we’re pretty close.  He said he loves it there, that’s it’s a real brotherhood, and that he loves the coaches.”

A couple of days after we spoke, Bennett put out a Top 8 of Tennessee, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Georgia, Alabama, UAB and Louisville and Kentucky.  He’s been to all of those campuses except Texas A&M, but he plans to see the Aggies as soon as the visit moratorium is up along with getting back to Tennessee, Georgia (where he’s been for a game but not a campus tour) and likely the rest again as well.  With Tennessee having recently gotten a commitment from Julian Nixon, the Vols now have four pass-catchers on their commitment list, so even if the Vols weren’t a ball of fire on the recruiting trail and likely more to come spots at WR would be at a premium.  Tennessee continues to try with 4-star Donte Thornton from Baltimore and Deion Colzie from Athens, GA, though both look like longshots at the moment.  At the same time, the Vols remain in the mix for a solid prospect like JJ Jones from Myrtle Beach, SC and is trying to get involved with recent Florida decommitment Breshard Smith, who at 6’3 and 5’8 respectively certainly are different types of players, with Jones obviously more of a “big WR” like Tennessee already has committed in Nixon and Roc Taylor.  The Vols are also very much in the mix for speedster Malcolm Johnson from VA who boasts an offer list as impressive as his track times. Bennett’s physical profile is more in between those two, and seems like a good fit with what the Vols have already brought in.  Just from the amount of time he’s spent on Rocky Top and his relationship it’s easy to see that he’s got a lot of familiarity with and fondness for Tennessee.  Should the Vols decide to push for him it’s clear that they would have a very good chance, although he is definitely impressed with the UGA offer and the Dawgs in particular will get a shot to impress him on a visit if they want to.  At the same time, he’s not in any hurry and doesn’t seem to be swayed by all of the momentum Tennessee has right now.  So, this could be a case where it’s best for both sides to let things play out and see what the landscape looks like in a few months.  In the meantime, don’t be surprised to see Bennett continue to pick up more offers – potentially from the instate powers – as his film is impressive as is his off the field personality.

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6 months ago

Very nice interview.