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With 55 days until Virginia Tech faces Alabama in the Georgia Dome, we turn our attention to no. 55 on roster Mr. Brent Benedict. Originally a transfer from the University of Georgia, Benedict’s arrival in Blacksburg was one that was immensely celebrated. The Florida native was a Rivals100 recruit back in the 2010 recruiting class and admitted that he might have signed with Virginia Tech out of high school had Georgia not offered. Of course, we all know how the story goes from there. Benedict suffered a horrible knee injury during his senior year in high school before he ever enrolled at Georgia. That led him to miss almost two years of football before returning to the field in the spring of 2012.
After a falling out with Georgia Strength and Conditioning coach, Benedict received a release from his scholarship and decided to transfer for Virginia Tech. So far, Benedict has developed well but it’s clear that he’s not back to being the kind of player he was before the injury. His high school film was some of the best I’ve ever seen from a high school offensive lineman. Benedict has struggled at times but most of it may be due to whatever physical and mental limitations he has playing on one healthy knee. The further he gets from that injury the better he’ll get.
Weight: 301 lbs
Position: Right Guard
High School: The Bolles School
High School Career
Out of high school, Rivals.com ranked Benedict as the 89th best player in the country. If you take one look at his offer list, you knew Benedict had to be a big time recruit. Schools such as Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Clemson, Miami, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, South Carolina, Texas A&M, UCLA, Virginia Tech, and many others offered the four star recruit. That's about as good of an offer list as you can have these days.
Reasons For Excitement
Plenty of Raw Talent: When you analyze a guy who was a Rivals100 offensive lineman out of high school and understand the way he plays the game, Benedict is a player with a ton of upside. He’s a southern boy with a lot of natural strength. He has a great frame for the guard position and a lot of lower body ability. I would hate to see him had he not suffered a serious knee injury. As a Virginia Tech fan, I just hope Benedict can continue to move forward with his development and become a force we can count on in the middle of our offensive line.
2012 Provided a Starting Point: The Florida native missed all of the 2011 season recovering from his injury so 2012 was really Benedicts first taste of college football. Although he’s listed as a redshirt junior, he’s really a year behind in his development. So, 2012 provided a starting point for Benedict to learn and improve.
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Causes For Concern
How Much Better Can He Get: I think that’s the big question here. Benedict may get passed over this fall for Andrew Miller, who is a bit more mobile and versatile at right guard. Right now, I have Benedict slated to be a backup behind Mark Shuman at left guard but I’m not sure how accurate that is. Plus, the battle for that starting job at right guard will remain up in the air until about two weeks before the start of the Alabama game. If the former four star can take his game to the next level it will vastly improve the interior of this offensive line. But, that remains to be seen.
Injury Concerns: Benedict played over 700 snaps last season so I’m less worried about how his knee will hold up over the course of the season than I was at this point last year. Plus, by all accounts Benedict is going to be a primary backup this year and not a starter. However, the Hokies need depth on the interior and Benedict will play a major factor in that depth. The Hokies need him to stay healthy.
What to Expect in 2013
In this series, I’ve written extensively on the offensive line and what I expect out of this group in 2013. Sadly, I don’t expect a ton of change out of these guys this fall. I think we’re going to struggle with some of the same issues we struggled with last year. I do think the interior will be better with another off-season under their belts. Plus, I like having a big guy like Shuman to run behind on the left side of the line. But, the tackles are green, which will likely mean less consistent play out of those guys.
Benedict is going to be our 6th or 7th lineman on the field this season, which means he’s still going to play a prominent role in this offense. Depth is crucial on the offensive line and that’s what he is going to provide barring he wins his starting job back at right guard.
Benedict was the biggest transfer the Hokies have ever received in the Frank Beamer era but he has yet to live up to his original ranking coming out of high school. With nerve damage in his knee, it’s hard to tell if he’ll ever live up to that billing. Still, Benedict is a capable player who’s only going to get better with more reps. He’ll be a prominent part of this offensive line this fall.
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