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April 21, 2011

Moving to the middle

As a junior in 2010, Madison Central (Miss.) defensive lineman Maurice Bennett saw his time split at defensive end and defensive tackle. But this spring the 6-foot-2 and 282-pound Bennett saw most of his time in the middle of the defensive line.

"We're actually done with spring ball and it went real good," said Bennett, who had 37 tackles last year, including six tackles for loss, one sack and one fumble recovery. "I was working at noseguard and we are running a three-man front now. Last year I was playing at tackle and end but I kinda missed just playing at tackle.

"I always wanted to play noseguard. It has its' pros and cons but they are mostly pros. Since last year I have improved my stance and I am able to beat the center a lot more. I was able to push those guys back to the quarterback and that helped the ends get to the backfield a lot. So it all worked out good this spring."

In his recruitment, Bennett has already picked up one BCS offer and is drawing interest from several other programs.

"I got an offer from Washington State and it was my first one," said Bennett, the younger brother of current Ole Miss defensive tackle Bryon Bennett. "I was pretty shocked but happy to get that offer. It was a surprise since they are way out there on the West Coast and recruiting me.

"Ole Miss, Mississippi State and a few more schools are also showing interest in me. I have already been to see Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Alabama and that's about it. But this summer I plan to get to as many camps as I can. I want to try to get to camps at Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Georgia and uCLA this summer. I also will most definitely visit Washington State, too, since they were the first to offer."

With Mississippi State and Ole Miss, Bennett was able to check out both teams in their annual spring games.

"I went to Mississippi State's spring game and it was really fun and exciting," said Bennett. "I got to meet all the coaches and Coach Dan Mullen. I also got to meet a few of their players and that was real exciting, too. I also got to watch their practice this year and their practice it hyped up and totally different than Ole Miss' practice. I talk to their coaches some and they send me mail every week. They said they want me back on campus so we can sit down and talk more.

"I also had a lot of fun at Ole Miss. I got to see some of my friends up there and my brother, too. It was fun watching their spring game and the whole day was a lot of fun."

Currently not holding a leader, Bennett obviously has the luxury of having an older brother that has been through the same process. But he noted his brother being at Ole Miss has not affected his approach to recruiting.

"Me and my brother really haven't even talked about recruiting," said Bennett. "Right now my eyes are still wide open. Even though my brother is at Ole Miss, I have to make my own choice and my brother understands that."


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